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uconnlondonOn September 18, Professor Richard Langlois met with the six students in this fall’s Business and Economics track of the UConn-in-London Program.  The students spend seven weeks taking two economics and business courses, then spend seven weeks on in internships with a London-based business.  (From left to right are Andrew Pierson, Curtis McLellan, Michael Jones, Ding Zhang, Nicole Nonnenmacher, and Ross Bauer.)

While in England, Professor Langlois also met with officials of the UConn London program; gave a talk at the University of Wolverhampton; and presented a paper at the Workshop on Institutions and Economic Change in Hitchin, Herts.


On April 11, Economics Ph.D. candidate Leshui He presented a paper at the Universitas 21 Doctoral Conference organized in Hartford by the UConn School of Business. UConn recently joined Universitas 21, which is a consortium of top universities in 13 countries. The doctoral conference brought to UConn graduate students and faculty from many member universities, providing Ph.D. students with comments on their work and an opportunity to meet and network with their counterparts from around the world. Leshui’s dissertation advisor, Professor Richard Langlois, who is a member of UConn’s Study Abroad Advisory Committee, served as discussant for a number of papers at the conference.

A few days later, on April 14, Leshui presented the same paper — titled “Subeconomy Meets Property Rights: A Theory of the Firm” — at the annual doctoral colloquium of the Consortium for Competitiveness and Cooperation (CCC), held this year at the Robert H. Smith School of Business of the University of Maryland.

On February 24, Prof. Richard Langlois delivered a breakfast keynote address, entitled “Design, Institutions, and the Evolution of Platforms,” at George Mason University Law school. The presentation was part of a conference called “The Digital Inventor: How Entrepreneurs Compete on Platforms,” sponsored by the Law School’s Information Economy Project. Other speakers included David Teece from the Haas School of Business at Berkeley and Donald Rosenberg, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Qualcomm. Papers from the conference will appear later this year in a special issue of the Journal of Law, Economics, & Policy.

Prof. Langlois will be one of five inductees at the annual dinner meeting of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences. It will take place in the North Reading Room of the Wilbur Cross Building on March 30.

The Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences was chartered by the State of Connecticut in 1799. It is the third oldest learned society in the United States. Its founders include Noah Webster and Ezra Stiles. Its official purpose is “to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest and happiness of a free and virtuous people.” Currently, almost 60 University of Connecticut faculty are members of the Academy, including fellow department member Prof. Segerson

Professor Richard Langlois is currently traveling in the United Kingdom as a Visiting Fellow of the Academy of Advanced International Management. He will be giving a series of talks in Lancaster, London, and Edinburgh. As part of the trip, he will also attend conferences in London, Scotland, and Denmark. Professor Langlois’s first stop in the UK was Nottingham, where he spoke at the Nottingham University Business School and touched base with UConn’s Marshall Scholar Michelle Prairie (pictured), who is completing her M. S. in Economics at Nottingham before moving on for another Masters degree at the London School of Economics in the fall.

On June 13 he visited the Lake District of Cumbria, where he discovered not only another Storrs but also a Storrs Hall, built in the 1790s and famously the home of John Bolton, a Liverpool ship owner who engaged in the “triangular trade” – including slaves – among Africa, the West Indies, and Britain.

According to a recent article in the Eastern Economic Journal, our department ranks 16th by reputation of their blogging faculty. The authors took a selection of the 85 most important economics blogs, then looked at the academic citation frequency of their regulator contributors. Prof. Richard Langlois, who regularly posts on Organizations and Markets ranks 9th by academic impact, and all by himself brings the department to a ranking of 16th. A possibly better ranking could have been in the cards if any of the blogs Prof. Christian Zimmermann contributes to had been included in the analysis: Against Monopoly, the RePEc blog and the NEP-DGE blog.

Economics, like most disciplines, has become highly specialized, so it is not surprising that many economists focus their research on a narrow range of topics or issues. Not so for one of our Ph.D. alumni, Donald Vandegrift (IDEAS).

Don completed his doctorate in 1993 under the tutelage of Prof. Richard Langlois. Apparently Dick’s interest in a wide range of topics in the field of industrial organization rubbed off on Don, who currently serves as Chair of the Department of Economics in the School of Business at The College of New Jersey.

Over the years, Don has published papers on performance excuse under contracts (European Journal of Law and Economics, 1997), asset specificity (Eastern Economic Journal, 1998), energy use (Journal of Energy and Development, 1999), product warranty (Contemporary Economic Policy, 2001), risky strategies in “tournament competition” (Labour Economics, 2003), obesity rates (Health & Place, 2004), gender differences in competitive strategies (Journal of Socio-Economics, 2005), prescription drug spending (Southern Economic Journal, 2006), incentive effects in experimental settings (Experimental Economics, 2007), and hedge fund performance (Journal of Derivatives and Hedge Funds, 2009).

Don’s forthcoming work continues to reflect his exceptional versatility. A paper on hedge fund performance will soon appear in the Journal of Derivatives and Hedge Funds; his experimental analysis of differences in competitive behavior between men and women is slated for publication by the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization; a study of sabotage in tournaments has been accepted by the Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics; and the Annals of Regional Science will publish a paper on linkages between open space, house prices, and the local property tax base.

It is great to see our former students enjoying their work and sharing it with others. Don spoke at our on-campus 2008 Economics Reunion and Forum, and we are hoping that he will be back in Storrs next spring, when we repeat this successful event. Don and other former grad students presented research papers, participated in job-experience panels, met our current students and newer faculty, and reconnected with old friends and fellow alums. We will be posting plans for the next event, but it is clear that even in his current administrative role as Department Chair, Don has continued his lively line(s) of research and will have little problem coming up with a new paper for the 2010 reunion.

On October 1, 2009, Professor Richard Langlois spoke at Union College in Schenectady, New York, on the topic: “Creative Destruction: The Work of Joseph Schumpeter in his Day and Ours.” Jointly sponsored by the Engineering program and the Department of Economics at Union, the talk was supported by a donation from a college alumnus who wanted students and faculty to become more familiar with the work of Schumpeter, a Vienna-trained Harvard economist of the early twentieth century who stressed the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation in economic growth and insisted on the dynamic and often unstable nature of capitalism. As recently noted in this blog, Professor Langlois is the author of a 2007 book on the work of Schumpeter.

Professor Richard Langlois’s (IDEAS) 2007 book The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism: Schumpeter, Chandler, and the New Economy recently received a flattering review on EH.Net, the premier website in economic history and the history of economic thought. The author of the review, Arthur Diamond, Jr. (IDEAS), the Lucas Professor of Economics at the University of Nebraska, praised the book’s “erudition in issues addressed, methods respected, and fields of research perused. To pull so much together, so well, is impressive. Equally impressive are Langlois’ credentials as a Schumpeter scholar: he was invited to deliver the Graz Schumpeter Lectures, which serve as the basis for the current succinct monograph. And in 2006, the manuscript was named a co-winner of the Schumpeter Prize from the International Schumpeter Society. Hopefully the accolades will be enough to … bring the book the wide readership that it deserves.”

EH.Net operates the Economic History Services web site and several electronic mailing lists to provide resources and promote communication among scholars in economic history and related fields. It is supported by the Economic History Association and other affiliated organizations: the Business History Conference, the Cliometric Society, the Economic History Society, and the History of Economics Society. Its book reviews are distributed by email to a large number of economic historians, historians of economic thought, and interested readers of all sorts, thus reaching a wider audience than traditional book reviews in scholarly journals.

Prof. Langlois (IDEAS), who has been at UConn since 1983, studies the economics of organization – that is, why entities such as business firms are organized in a particular way. In the late 19th century, mass production of goods and the vertical integration of companies radically transformed the economy. In the late 20th century, independent suppliers and market coordination were more effective than large, vertically integrated corporations. Langlois argues that the type of organization that succeeds depends on the conditions of the economy at the time.

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