nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2018‒05‒28
two papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Axventure AB

  1. The Social Trajectory of a Finance Professor and the Common Sense of Capital By Marion Fourcade; Rakesh Khurana
  2. Students Are Almost as Effective as Professors in University Teaching By Jan Feld; Nicolas Salamanca; Ulf Zölitz§

  1. By: Marion Fourcade (University of California [Berkeley]); Rakesh Khurana (Harvard Business School)
    Abstract: This paper traces the career of Michael Jensen, a Chicago finance PhD turned Harvard Business School professor to reveal the intellectual and social conditions that enabled the emergence and institutionalization of what we call the “neoliberal common sense of capital,” what others have called the “shareholder value” view of the American firm. Jensen's work was embraced by a generation of corporate raiders aggressively advancing new financial practices and discourses. His contribution, commonly understood as “agency theory,” was intertwined with the transformations in corporate management and governance of the last decades of the twentieth century—from the junk bond market in the 1980s to the exponential growth of CEO pay in the 1990s to the shareholder value management strategies of the 2000s. While debates about the spread of neoliberal ideas and governance tools have largely centered on the transformations of the state and international institutions or the role of actively organized intellectual networks, this essay emphasizes the importance of identifying specific carriers of particular transformations within the space of American “business discourse.”
    Keywords: Agency theory; Corporate governance; Executive pay; The firm; Michael Jensen; Neoliberalism; Shareholder value
    Date: 2017–06
  2. By: Jan Feld (School of Economics and Finance, Victoria University of Wellington; and IZA Institute of Labor Economics); Nicolas Salamanca (Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research and Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne; and IZA Institute of Labor Economics); Ulf Zölitz§ (Behavior and Inequality Research Institute (briq); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; and Department of Economics, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: Many universities around the world rely on student instructors—current bachelor’s and master’s degree students—for tutorial teaching, yet we know nothing about their effectiveness. In a setting with random assignment of instructors to students, we show that student instructors are almost as effective as senior instructors at improving their students’ short- and longer-run academic achievement and labor market outcomes. We find little heterogeneity across different course types, student characteristics, or instructors’ personal academic quality. Our results suggest that the use of student instructors can serve as an effective tool for universities to reduce their costs with negligible negative effects on students.
    Keywords: Student instructors, university, teacher performance
    JEL: I21 I24 J24
    Date: 2017–09

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