nep-hme New Economics Papers
on Heterodox Microeconomics
Issue of 2012‒08‒23
sixteen papers chosen by
Frederic S. Lee
University of Missouri-Kansas City

  1. Firm technological innovation persistence: Organizational innovation matters By HANED Naciba; LE BAS Christian; MOTHE Caroline; NGUYEN Thi Thuc Uyen
  2. Wage setting in Hungary: evidence from a firm survey By Gábor Kézdi; István Kónya
  3. Capitalism as a system of contingent expectations: Toward a sociological microfoundation of political economy By Beckert, Jens
  4. Critical realism, grounded theory, and theory construction in heterodox economics By Lee, Frederic
  5. "Veblen's Institutionalist Elaboration of Rent Theory" By Michael Hudson
  6. How are firms’ wages and prices linked: survey evidence in Europe By Martine Druant; Silvia Fabiani; Gábor Kézdi; Ana Lamo; Fernando Martins; Roberto Sabbatini
  7. The Anatomy of French Production Hierarchies By Caliendo, Lorenzo; Monte, Ferdinando; Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban
  8. Determinants of Evolutionary Change Processes in Innovation Networks – Empirical Evidence from the German Laser Industry By Muhamed Kudic; A. Pyka; Jutta Günther
  9. The analysis of competitive interdependencies through Social Network Analysis: the case study of extra-virgin olive oil By Marchini, Andrea; Diotallevi, Francesco; Fioriti, Linda
  10. Financial and organizational perspectives on small and medium-sized business groups By Enrico Guzzini; Donato Iacobucci; Peter Rosa
  11. Abc method – guarantor of real costs in the mining extractive industry entities By Man, Mariana; Boca (Rakos), Ileana Sorina; Căpuşneanu, Sorinel/I
  12. Some Consequences of the Early Twentieth Century Divorce of Ownership from Control By James Foreman-Peck; Leslie Hannah
  13. Why, when, and how fast innovations are adopted By Sebastian Goncalves; M. F. Laguna; J. R. Iglesias
  14. The Economics of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Survey By Patricia Crifo; Vanina Forget
  15. Evaluating Mergers for Coordinated Effects and the Role of 'Parallel Accommodating Conduct' By Joseph E. Harrington, Jr.
  16. Modern Distribution vs. Specialised Shop: a Study on beef consumer behaviour By Scozzafava, Gabriele; Casini, Leonardo; Marinelli, Nicola

  1. By: HANED Naciba; LE BAS Christian; MOTHE Caroline; NGUYEN Thi Thuc Uyen
    Abstract: Organizational innovation favors technological innovation, but does it also influence technological innovation persistence? This article investigates empirically the pattern of technological innovation persistence and tests the potential impact of organizational innovation using firm-level data from three waves of the French Community Innovation Surveys. Evidence shows a positive effect of organizational innovation on technological innovation persistence, according to various measures of organizational innovation. Moreover, this impact is more significant for complex innovators (i.e., those who innovate in both products and processes). These results highlight the complexity of managing organizational practices with regard to the firm?s technological innovation. They also add to comprehension of the drivers of innovation persistence, through a focus on an often forgotten dimension of innovation in a broader sense.
    Keywords: organizational innovation; technological innovation; persistence
    Date: 2012–06
  2. By: Gábor Kézdi (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (central bank of Hungary), Central European University, Institute of Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences); István Kónya (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (central bank of Hungary))
    Abstract: This paper presents new evidence on the flexibility of the Hungarian labor market, with special emphasis on wages. The results are based on a new survey on wage setting among Hungarian firms. The survey is part of the Eurosystem Wage Dynamics Network (WDN), and it is a harmonized questionnaire administered in 17 countries in Europe, including almost all Euro Area countries as well as five Central and Eastern European countries. The survey results show that the Hungarian labor market, while institutionally flexible, appears to be surprisingly rigid. The survey evidence points to low turnover and possibly more rigid wages than previously thought.
    Keywords: wage setting, survey, wage dynamics network, Hungary
    JEL: C83 J01 J30
    Date: 2012
  3. By: Beckert, Jens
    Abstract: Political economy and economic sociology have developed in relative isolation from each other. While political economy focuses largely on macrophenomena, economic sociology focuses on the level of social interaction in the economy. The paper argues that economic sociology can provide a microfoundation of political economy beyond rational actor theory and behavioral economics. Based on a discussion of what I call the four Cs of capitalism (credit, commodification, creativity, and competition), I argue that macroeconomic outcomes depend on the contingent expectations actors have in decision situations. Expectations are based on the indeterminate and therefore contingent interpretation of the situations actors face. This shifts attention to the management of expectations as a crucial element of economic activity and to the institutional, political, and cultural foundations of expectations. The dynamics of capitalist development are precarious because they hinge on the creation of expectations conducive to economic growth. -- Politische Ökonomie und Wirtschaftssoziologie haben sich relativ isoliert voneinander entwickelt. Während die Politische Ökonomie vornehmlich Makrophänomene untersucht, konzentriert sich die Wirtschaftssoziologie zumeist auf die Ebene der sozialen Interaktion in der Wirtschaft. Der Beitrag zeigt, dass die Wirtschaftssoziologie Grundlagen für eine Mikrofundierung der Politischen Ökonomie jenseits der Theorie rationalen Handelns und behavioristischer Theorien bietet. Ausgehend von der Diskussion vier zentraler Elemente kapitalistischer Ökonomie, die ich als the four Cs of capitalism bezeichne (credit, commodification, creativity, and competition), zeige ich, dass makroökonomische Resultate auf den kontingenten Erwartungen der Akteure in der Handlungssituation beruhen. Erwartungen gründen auf den unbestimmten und daher kontingenten Interpretationen der Handlungssituation, mit der die Akteure konfrontiert sind. Dies lenkt die Aufmerksamkeit auf das Erwartungsmanagement als zentrales Element wirtschaftlichen Handelns und zu den institutionellen, politischen und kulturellen Grundlagen von Erwartungen. Die Dynamik kapitalistischer Entwicklung ist immer prekär, weil sie von der Schaffung von Erwartungen abhängt, die Wachstum befördern.
    Date: 2012
  4. By: Lee, Frederic
    Abstract: This paper proposes an approach to theory creation and evaluation for heterodox economics that is based in the integration of critical realism and the method of grounded theory. Critical realism provides the concepts of structures and causal mechanisms that form the outline of theory construction, while the grounded theory method provides the research strategy to transform them into a theory. After this is set out in the first two sections of the paper, research methods issues, such as data triangulation, case studies, analytical statistics (econometrics), and mathematics and modeling, are discussed. The final section of the paper deals with the historical character of critical realist-grounded theories and the implication for heterodox economic theories.
    Keywords: Heterodox; Critical Realism; Grounded Theory
    JEL: D0 B5 B41
    Date: 2012–07
  5. By: Michael Hudson
    Abstract: As the heirs to classical political economy and the German historical school, the American institutionalists retained rent theory and its corollary idea of unearned income. More than any other institutionalist, Thorstein Veblen emphasized the dynamics of banks financing real estate speculation and Wall Street maneuvering to organize monopolies and trusts. Yet despite the popularity of his writings with the reading public, his contribution has remained isolated from the academic mainstream, and he did not leave behind a "school." Veblen criticized academic economists for having fallen subject to "trained incapacity" as a result of being turned into factotums to defend rentier interests. Business schools were painting an unrealistic happy-face picture of the economy, teaching financial techniques but leaving out of account the need to reform the economy's practices and institutions. In emphasizing how financial "predation" was hijacking the economy's technological potential, Veblen’s vision was as materialist and culturally broad as that of the Marxists, and as dismissive of the status quo. Technological innovation was reducing costs but breeding monopolies as the finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE) sectors joined forces to create a financial symbiosis cemented by political-insider dealings—and a trivialization of economic theory as it seeks to avoid dealing with society’s failure to achieve its technological potential. The fruits of rising productivity were used to finance robber barons who had no better use of their wealth than to reduce great artworks to the status of ownership trophies and achieve leisure-class status by funding business schools and colleges to promote a self-congratulatory but deceptive portrayal of their wealth-grabbing behavior.
    Keywords: History of Economic Thought; Institutionalism; FIRE Sector; Financialization
    JEL: B15
    Date: 2012–08
  6. By: Martine Druant (National Bank of Belgium); Silvia Fabiani (Bank of Italy); Gábor Kézdi (Magyar Nemzeti Bank (central bank of Hungary), Central European University, Institute of Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences); Ana Lamo (European Central Bank); Fernando Martins (Bank of Portugal, ISEG (Technical University of Lisbon), Universidade Lusíada of Lisbon); Roberto Sabbatini (Bank of Italy)
    Abstract: This paper presents new evidence on the patterns of price and wage adjustment in European firms and on the extent of nominal rigidities. It uses a unique dataset collected through a firm-level survey conducted in a broad range of countries and covering various sectors. Several conclusions are drawn from this evidence. Firms adjust wages less frequently than prices: the former tend to remain unchanged for about 15 months on average, the latter for around 10 months. The degree of price rigidity varies substantially across sectors and depends strongly on economic features, such as the intensity of competition, the exposure to foreign markets and the share of labour costs in total cost. Instead, country specificities, mostly related to the labour market institutional setting, are more relevant in characterising the pattern of wage adjustment. The latter exhibits also a substantial degree of time-dependence, as firms tend to concentrate wage changes in a specific month, mostly January in the majority of countries. Wage and price changes feed into each other at the micro level and there is a relationship between wage and price rigidity.
    Keywords: survey, wage rigidity, price rigidity, indexation, institutions, time dependent
    JEL: D21 E30 J31
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Caliendo, Lorenzo; Monte, Ferdinando; Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban
    Abstract: We use a comprehensive dataset of French manufacturing firms to study their internal organization. We first divide the employees of each firm into `layers' using occupational categories. Layers are hierarchical in that the typical worker in a higher layer earns more, and the typical firm occupies less of them. In addition, the probability of adding (dropping) a layer is very positively (negatively) correlated with value added. We then explore the changes in the wages and number of employees that accompany expansions in layers, output, or markets (by becoming exporters). The empirical results indicate that reorganization, through changes in layers, is key to understand how firms expand and contract. For example, we find that firms that expand substantially add layers and pay lower average wages in all pre-existing layers. In contrast, firms that expand little and do not reorganize pay higher average wages in all pre-existing layers.
    Keywords: Firm Dynamics; Firm Growth; Organizational Change; Organizations; Skills; Wages
    JEL: D22 F16 J24 J31
    Date: 2012–07
  8. By: Muhamed Kudic; A. Pyka; Jutta Günther
    Abstract: We seek to understand the relationship between network change determinants, network change processes at the micro level and structural consequences at the overall network level. Our conceptual framework considers three groups of determinants – organizational, relational and contextual. Selected factors within these groups are assumed to cause network change processes at the micro level – tie formations and tie terminations – and to shape the structural network configuration at the overall network level. We apply a unique longitudinal event history dataset based on the full population of 233 German laser source manufacturers and 570 publicly-funded cooperation projects to answer the following research question: What kind of exogenous or endogenous determinants affect a firm’s propensity and timing to cooperate and enter the network? Estimation results from a non-parametric event history model indicate that young micro firms enter the network later than small-sized and large firms. An in-depth analysis of the size effects for medium-sized firms provides some unexpected yet quite interesting findings. The choice of cooperation type makes no significant difference for the firms’ timing to enter the network. Finally, the analysis of contextual determinants shows that cluster membership can, but do not necessarily, affect a firm’s timing to cooperate.
    Keywords: network evolution, timing of network entry, innovation networks, German laser industry
    JEL: B52 D85 O32
    Date: 2012–07
  9. By: Marchini, Andrea; Diotallevi, Francesco; Fioriti, Linda
    Abstract: This paper aims to analyze, utilizing scanner data, the relationships of competitive interdependency in the extra-virgin olive oil sector in Italy. One of the most important aspects of the competitiveness analysis is the concept of competitive interdependency, as the competitive performances of a product depend upon the number of competitors on the same shop shelf. The «Social Network Analysis» (SNA) has been applied to investigate these interdependencies by elaborating extra-virgin olive oil sales data from a national level survey. The SNA methodology has provided a useful tool to analyse the competitive relationships between each selected extra-virgin olive oil brand and the others on the same shop shelf. The conclusions aim to discuss the results of the study, which has provided useful information about high quality Italian olive oil segments, and to evaluate future opportunities and actual limits of this new methodology to approach the analysis of competitive brand networks.
    Keywords: Social Network Analysis (SNA); extra-virgin olive oil market; competitiveness
    JEL: Q13
    Date: 2012
  10. By: Enrico Guzzini (Università degli Studi eCampus, Italy); Donato Iacobucci (Dept. of Information Engineering Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy); Peter Rosa (Centre for Entrepreneurship Research, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK)
    Abstract: Most theories seeking to explain why business groups are formed are focused on large firms, but in recent years there is growing interest on why business groups are formed in the small firms sector. In this paper we contrast two theoretical perspectives that may account for business group formation, both based on the idea that business groups allow entrepreneurs to differentiate the ownership structure of new activities from the established one(s). These are the financial perspective and the organizational/entrepreneurial perspective. Theoretical propositions derived from these perspectives are tested using data on Italian business groups. The empirical results show that the financial and the organizational perspectives can be seen as complementary in explaining business groups in the small business sector. Specifically, the financial explanation is in accordance with the data in predicting the prevalence of capital intensive firms in business groups while the organizational explanation is in accordance with the data in predicting the presence of knowledge intensive firms in business groups. Furthermore, the organizational perspective seems more appropriate when the diversification strategies of business groups are concerned and when explaining the ownership structure of controlled companies.
    Keywords: business groups; pyramids; small businesses; ownership; diversification
    Date: 2012–06
  11. By: Man, Mariana; Boca (Rakos), Ileana Sorina; Căpuşneanu, Sorinel/I
    Abstract: The article aims to emphasize the importance of the ABC method in the provision of real production costs within mining extractive industry entities in Romania. Starting from the progress of investigations undertaken in the specialty literature regarding the adaptation and implementation of the ABC method to the specifics of the entities in the mining and quarrying industry to the achievements made so far by various specialists, the authors of this article demonstrate the successful implementation of the ABC method in mining entities in Romania and the determination of the real costs. The documentation which was the basis of the study and comparison between applicative traditional method used and the ABC method applied is likely to prove the viability of the organization of the managerial accounting of mining extractive industry entities in Romania in order to increase their performances. The article ends with the conclusions of the authors concerning the enlargement of the successful implementation of the ABC method in mining extractive industry entities in Romania.
    Keywords: Activity-Based Costing; production cost; performances; mining industry; charcoal
    JEL: M41
    Date: 2012–07–03
  12. By: James Foreman-Peck (Cardiff University); Leslie Hannah (University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: Because ownership was already more divorced from control in the largest stock market of 1911 (London) than in the largest stock market of 1995 (New York), the consequences for the economy, for good or ill, could have been considerable. Using a large sample of quoted companies with capital of £1 million or more, we show that this separation did not generally operate against shareholders’ interests, despite the very substantial potential for agency problems. More directors were apparently preferable to fewer over a considerable range, as far as their influence on company share price and return on equity was concerned: company directors were not simply ornamental. A greater number of shareholders was more in shareholders’ interest than a smaller, despite the enhanced difficulties of coordinating shareholder ‘voice’. A larger share of votes controlled by the Board combined with greater Board share ownership was also on average consistent with a greater return on equity. Corporate governance thus appears to have been well adapted to the circumstances of the Edwardian company capital market. Hence the reduction in the cost of capital for such a large proportion of British business conferred a substantial advantage on the economy.
    Keywords: corporate governance, company directors, shareholders, board voting control, directors’ shareholdings, corporate performance
    JEL: G32 G34 L25
    Date: 2012–07
  13. By: Sebastian Goncalves; M. F. Laguna; J. R. Iglesias
    Abstract: When the full stock of a new product is quickly sold in a few days or weeks, one has the impression that new technologies develop and conquer the market in a very easy way. This may be true for some new technologies, for example the cell phone, but not for others, like the blue-ray. Novelty, usefulness, advertising, price, and fashion are the driving forces behind the adoption of a new product. But, what are the key factors that lead to adopt a new technology? In this paper we propose and investigate a simple model for the adoption of an innovation which depends mainly on three elements: the appeal of the novelty, the inertia or resistance to adopt it, and the interaction with other agents. Social interactions are taken into account in two ways: by imitation and by differentiation, i.e., some agents will be inclined to adopt an innovation if many people do the same, but other will act in the opposite direction, trying to differentiate from the "herd". We determine the conditions for a successful implantation of the new technology, by considering the strength of advertising and the effect of social interactions. We find a balance between the advertising and the number of anti-herding agents that may block the adoption of a new product. We also compare the effect of social interactions, when agents take into account the behavior of the whole society or just a part of it. In a nutshell, the present model reproduces qualitatively the available data on adoption of innovation.
    Date: 2012–08
  14. By: Patricia Crifo (Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique - CNRS : UMR7176 - Polytechnique - X, UP10 - Université Paris 10, Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense - Université Paris X - Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense - Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique, CIRANO - Montréal); Vanina Forget (Department of Economics, Ecole Polytechnique - CNRS : UMR7176 - Polytechnique - X, AgroParisTech - ENGREF)
    Abstract: This article analyzes the economics of Corporate Social Responsible behaviors, namely the voluntary integration of environmental, social and governance factors in firms' strategy. We review theoretical and empirical literature and provide a unified framework of the forces driving corporate social responsibility, relying on three categories of market imperfections: the existence of externalities and public good; consumer heterogeneity; and imperfects contracts. The impacts of corporate social responsibility on corporate performance and society are also surveyed and the lack of knowledge on the latter leads to a research agenda.
    Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility; Business Sustainability; En- vironmental, Social and Governance Criteria; Firm Strategy.
    Date: 2012–07–25
  15. By: Joseph E. Harrington, Jr.
    Abstract: The 2010 Horizontal Merger Guidelines propose a form of coordinated effects, referred to as "parallel accommodating conduct," that is claimed not to involve the usual evaluation of the ability of firms to detect compliance and punish non-compliance with respect to supracompetitive prices. That claim is argued here to be false. Where the concept of parallel accommodating conduct is valid and constructive is in identifying coordinated effects that do not involve firms having an agreement. These issues are explored here in the context of a more general examination of how firms coordinate on and implement supracompetitive outcomes.
    Date: 2012–07
  16. By: Scozzafava, Gabriele; Casini, Leonardo; Marinelli, Nicola
    Abstract: The evolution of consumer profile highlights, for food products and specifically for beef, a growing attention for a number of specific aspects related to food quality, safety, environmental issues and animal welfare. Because of this, it is more and more important to understand the consumer’s choice dynamics in order to develop differentiated marketing, commercial and communication strategies that also refer to different distribution channel. This study was conceived with the aim of analysing the different motives and purchase behaviours of beef consumers in the two main distribution channels: Modern Distribution (MD) and specialised shops (butcher shops). The research is based on an internet administered questionnaire to a representative sample of 1500 beef consumers. Within the questionnaire a Visual Choice Experiment was proposed and its results were analysed using a Multinomial Logit Model. The results show different consumer characteristics in the two analysed distribution channels, highlighting how the same product attributes have different meaning and relevance. Such results may supply strategic information for packaging, pricing and general commercialisation strategies to be implemented by the different agents in the distribution sector.
    Keywords: Beef, Consumer Behaviour, Choice Experiment, Distribution, Marketing Strategies, Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy, Q13, C90,
    Date: 2012

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