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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Book Review- The Economic Institutions of Capitalism

As much as I'd like to, we can't limit this column to reviews of important topics like In-N-Out Burger every week. Every once in a while, we have to take a look at the landmark works of Nobel Prize winners. We will not be reviewing The Audacity of Hope. At least not today. However, it is worth taking a look at the work of Oliver Williamson, who shared this year's Nobel Prize in Economics with Elinor Ostram.

Don Boudreax at Cafe Hayek says that Williamson's 1985 book, The Economic Institutions of Capitalism, "remains a classic that repays careful study, even in 2009."

The Academy of Management Review

Oliver Williamson has written the most important book on the corporation since Berle and Means' The Modern Corporation and Private Property. -- Review

Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. Harvard Business School

For a historian concerned with the evolution of modern institutions, this is the most valuable book written by an economist since those of Joseph Schumpeter.

Kenneth J. Arrow Nobel Laureate in Economics

[Williamson] works on a much broader canvas than before and demonstrates the power of his approach in understanding such elusive phenomena as contract relations, vertical integration, labor unions, and antitrust law.

Paul L. Joskow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

An extraordinarily impressive achievement and must reading for all serious students of law, economics, and organization...The Economic Institutions of Capitalism synthesizes Oliver Williamson's extensive work on these subjects with related work of other scholars in a comprehensive and stimulating presentation of the theory and applications of a new institutional economics that is changing the way we think about many issues in law, economics, and organization.

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