Archives de catégorie : Actualités / News

La fabrique des statistiques pénitentiaires

Anaïs Henneguelle (2017)

In: Crimicorpus. Revue hypermédia Histoire de la justice, des crimes et des peines.

Résumé. Cet article entend témoigner d’une expérience de recherche originale où l’ethnographie est venue compléter un travail économétrique. À la suite de la publication de résultats fondés sur des statistiques pénitentiaires, je cherche à comprendre comment celles-ci sont construites au quotidien dans les prisons. Pour cela, je m’appuie sur des observations ethnographiques menées dans deux maisons d’arrêt de la région parisienne, où je peux assister à la saisie de données par les greffiers pénitentiaires et étudier la fabrication ordinaire du chiffre. Cet article montre qu’il existe une importante dissonance cognitive entre les agents, qui n’évoquent jamais l’enjeu statistique de leurs activités et n’y sont pas formés, et les membres de la Direction de l’administration pénitentiaire, qui s’appuient sur ces sources pour assoir leurs connaissances des personnes incarcérées. En particulier, les variables sociodémographiques sont marginalisées dans le processus de construction des statistiques pénitentiaires, et leur utilisation par l’économètre est sujette à caution.

Forthcoming workshop “Governing by numbers: Key indicators and the politics of expectations”

Workshop, October 5 – 7, 2017, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg

Organizers: Walter Bartl, Audrey Terracher-Lipinski

Advisory committee: Petra Dobner, Oliver Holtemöller, Christian Papilloud, Richard Rottenburg, Reinhold Sackmann, Konstanze Senge

Politics in the 20th century created a whole array of indicators, such as gross domestic product (GDP) or unemployment indicators, that became crucial for the structuration of entire policy fields. Politics in the 21st century, inspired by the new public management discourse, complemented this trend by developing not only more indicators but also by inventing new forms of regulation and new ways of modelling political expectations about the future. In the sociology of quantification, the relevance of numbers in democratic politics and democratic representation was among the earliest issues addressed. A basic assumption in this line of reasoning is that there is an inherently political dimension to what seems to be methodological or technocratic issues in the quantification process. While research has become more diversified, there is also growing need for systematizing theoretical approaches and empirical findings as well as pursuing a strategic approach in defining desiderata for further research so as to build a more coherent stock of knowledge about the politics of quantification.

The planned workshop seeks to advance this endeavor by focusing especially on institutionalization processes of key indicators and particularly on the relevance of key indicators to a ‘politics of expectations’.

Governing by indicators: In a globalizing world of ever more complex social relations, there is a rising demand for accessible and comparable knowledge. Since numbers are said to possess many features that cater to this demand, quantification has been observed as a pervasive feature of contemporary society. Indicators are a special form of quantification in that they emphasize the intentional use of numbers and scripted (political) action. Indicators can be qualified, first, as numbers that use a limited set of measurable parameters to make phenomena visible that cannot be observed directly. Hence, otherwise latent phenomena become manifest by operationalizing them using certain indicators. For example, the American census created racial categories that consequently came to represent heterogeneous populations as homogeneous groups of society. Second, since indicators simplify complex phenomena, their interpretation depends on concepts that ensure their communicability. Concepts aid interpretation by relating the phenomena of interest to the chosen measure. However, these concepts (implicitly) contain causal attributions and, hence, suggest scripts for (political) action.

Key indicators and politics: The power of indicators to structure entire policy fields is very much debated. On the one hand, there is evidence that particular key indicators are so widely used in society that they have become crucial to the regulation of social life ― such as GDP with respect to economic policy. Among the evidence supporting this view is that the effects of some key indicators have a visible impact on policy fields ― a case in point are performance indicators and their impact on education policy. Other indicators operate largely hidden from public scrutiny. On the other hand, very often the power of indicators is also questioned ― as in the case of environmental indicators in politics. However, the processes by which indicators become institutionalized as key elements of collective efforts to achieve larger social goals are still poorly understood. The same can be said about conflicts over alternative indicators. With regard to the potential power of indicators, the contributions will address institutionalization processes of key indicators and conflicts that arise from divergent practices of using indicators in politics. Can indicators mediate conflicts between different actors?

The politics of expectations: The future is essentially uncertain. Yet political actors have to build expectations about the future in order to make plans and collectively binding decisions. Expectations are fictional in the sense that those who rely on them treat them as if they were certain to become reality. This creates an incentive for actors to try to influence the expectations of others by creating credible accounts of future states of the world. How are expectations about the future symbolized and narrated in politics? How do indicators operate as instruments of imagination? Do indicators measure past developments, implicitly assuming that these developments will continue in the future, or do they project future developments, explicitly aiming to account for the contingency of the future? Recently, there seems to be an increasing relevance of prospective indicators such as in inflation targeting when central banks communicate expected inflation rates or when policy targets are formulated as quantitative indicators such as in the European Union’s Open Method of Coordination or in the global governance of development.

Confirmed speakers include Laurent Thévenot, Kenneth Prewitt, Christina Boswell, Rainer Díaz-Bone, Philipp Lepenies and others.

Deadline: Registration is possible until 1st 

Information & Registration

Understanding discrimination in hiring apprentices: how training companies use ethnicity to avoid organisational trouble

Christian Imdorf (2017)

Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 69(3), 405-423. 

Abstract. Children of immigrants from non-EU countries face particular problems to access apprenticeship training in German-speaking countries. In this context this article asks how recruiters in small and medium sized companies (SME) make sense of national and ethnic origin when hiring new apprentices. The author proposes Boltanski and Thévenot’s theory of justification in order to conceptualise ethnic discrimination in hiring. Accordingly, the social body of a company consists of multiple interweaved (industrial, domestic, market) ‘worlds’ of social coordination and justification. In order to avoid organisational trouble and to guarantee the further existence of the company, these worlds claim different principle of personnel assessment, some of them penalising applicants of specific ethnic origin. Empirically, the article refers to apprentice recruitment in Switzerland and Germany. It illustrates that employers in SME expect trouble in the domestic and in the market world of the company when hiring school leavers they perceive as foreigners. Hence, discriminatory categories such as ethnicity are used as symbolic and organisational resources for trouble avoidance in hiring apprentices.

Link to the article

Collaborer pour insérer ? Les partenariats sociaux dans l’insertion par l’activité économique

 Philippe Semenowicz​ (2017)

Cet ouvrage analyse le fonctionnement de trois structures d’insertion par l’activité économique : un groupe d’insertion de statut associatif, une entreprise de travail temporaire d’insertion et un groupement d’employeurs pour l’insertion et la qualification. Il se dégage trois « conventions d’insertion », qui sont autant de compromis. L’insertion apparaît au final comme une notion ouverte à plusieurs acceptions. Leur portée dépend de la capacité des entreprises sociales à établir des compromis exigeants avec les entreprises classiques.

Philippe Semenowicz est enseignant à l’université Paris-Est Créteil et chercheur associé au laboratoire ERUDITE.

 

Introduction et table des matières disponibles en ligne

Appel à articles/Call for papers “Pluralist Thinking in Economic and Socioeconomic Education” JSSE

The Journal of Social Science Education will publish a special issue in September 2018 on the theme of “Pluralist Thinking in Economic and Socioeconomic Education”. The issue will edited by Reinhold Hedtke, Bielefeld University, Germany.

http://www.jsse.org/index.php/jsse/announcement/view/23

For more than ten years, pluralism in economics and in the education of economists has been a hot issue. Contemporary criticism of conventional economics education has started around the turn of the millennium with student initiatives for pluralist economics like the post-autistic economics movement – with a stronghold in France (autisme-économie) – and gained momentum after the financial crisis of 2007/2008. Students turned against the perceived one-sidedness of syllabi, textbooks and exams of their universities and against economists and economics’ lack of contact with reality. In consequence, economic plurality and pluralism in economic(s) education was put onto the public agenda, initiated controversies and triggered changes in policies of higher education.
Recent student movements, however, are not the first and only stage for the debate on pluralism in economics and economic plurality. On the contrary, methodological, paradigmatic and theoretical pluralism in economic research has triggered a controversial scholarly debate. It involves key questions of teaching economics and business studies in the right way, at universities as well as at schools. Moreover, since citizens and voters, pupils and students are confronted with contentious issues concerning economic policies and their pluralist scientific rationales.
However, we do not know much about the impact of these debates on curricula, schools, textbooks, classroom practices and teacher training. Undergraduates, in principle, may be fortunate to find a more pluralist place for studying – as far as there are heterodox professors left – and overcome economics’ orthodoxy by changing the university or, at least, the department. Others may join ongoing protest movements for pluralist economics or educate themselves via pluralist platforms and webs of knowledge. In contrast, pupils and students of secondary and vocational schools as well as trainee teachers normally do not have these options. As a rule, they have to come to terms with the established curricula, content, textbooks and exams.
Against this backdrop, the thematic issue of the JSSE addresses phenomena, findings, problems and educational approaches of economic plurality and pluralism in economic research at different levels and in different contexts of the educational system. The issue will focus on teaching and learning in schools, on teacher education at universities and teacher training colleges and on social representations of economic plurality held by young people.
The thematic issue calls for deeper analyses of the underlying justifications and assumptions, guiding educational conventions and ideologies, corresponding policies, practices and vested interests. It welcomes papers of different formats, such as theoretical and conceptual or empirical papers, policy and curriculum analyses, comparative analyses, process tracing and discourse analyses as well as actor-centred empirical school and classroom research. We also look for qualitative research like ethnography of classroom practice, case studies of pluralist lessons or studies of pluralist teaching cultures.

 We are reluctant to impose a rigid framework but we would be especially interested in knowing how authors respond to one or more of the following questions:

  •      What are the epistemological, philosophical, psychological or sociological foundations of pluralist thinking about economy, economic life and economic policies and how do they relate to economic and socioeconomic education and to social science education?
  •     What are key empirical findings of pluralist teaching and learning in economic and socioeconomic education at schools, universities and teacher training colleges?
  •     How do students cope with the challenge of pluralist economic thinking in the classroom? What impact does pluralist education have?
  •     What do we know about plural economic thinking of young people and plurality in their representations of the economy? How do they cope with plurality and diversity in their every-day life? What are the approaches to mundane economic plurality socio/economic education should prefer?
  •     The social sciences provide an abundant diversity of approaches to the economy and of economic ideas, but learning time is limited. Which approaches and ideas should be selected for secondary or higher education and why?
  •     How can teachers and teacher educators realise pluralist teaching and learning in every-day teaching?
  •     What are the main normative contexts and patterns of legitimisation for economic pluralism or monism of teaching and learning?
  •     What is the relationship of pronounced pluralism in the economic/socioeconomic curriculum and in teacher education to vested interests and socio/economic policies? How is teaching about scientific controversies in schools and universities related to public dispute on the economy and economic policy?

The issue will contain:

  •     An editorial in which key themes are highlighted and articles are briefly summarised;
  •     4-6 articles of between 6-9000 words;
  •     2-4 book reviews (each approximately 4-800 words long) on issues of pluralist economic teaching and learning in schools.

The focus of the special issue will be socio/economic education and subject-matter research related to the social science domain and its core disciplines economics, economic sociology and business studies. The editors will also welcome theoretical and empirical material that allows for consideration of issues using insights from a range of other academic disciplines and areas (e.g. économie des conventions/sociology of conventions, sociology of education, sociology of knowledge; economic psychology; economic anthropology etc.).

The following schedule will be used:

  • First submission by authors to editors: 20 December 2017
  • Response to authors by editors: 30 January 2018
  • Final submission from authors: 15 May 2018
  • Final reviewing and papers ready for layout: 31 July 2018
  • Publication: 15 September 2018

Capital and Carbon: The Shifting Common Good Justification of Energy Regimes

Thomas D. Beamish & Nicole Woolsey Biggart (2017)

In Charlotte Cloutier, Jean-Pascal Gond & Bernard Leca (ed.), Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 52) Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.173 – 205.

Abstract. This article traces the regimes of worth that defined energy for centuries as a productive force of human and animal labor, an understanding that transformed in the 18th century to an “industrial-energy” regime of worth supporting an economy of mass production, consumption, and profit and more recently one centered on market forces and price. Industrial and market energy and the conventions and institutions that support them are currently in a period of discursive and material ferment; they are being challenged by different higher order principles of worth. We discuss eight emergent energy justifications that argue what kind of energy is – and is not – in the best interests of society.

Link

Accounting Values, Controversies, and Compromises in Tests of Worth

Marcia Annisette, Gillian Vesty & Thierry Amslem (2017)

In Charlotte Cloutier, Jean-Pascal Gond & Bernard Leca (ed.), Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 52) Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.209 – 239.

Abstract. This article will consider the various ways in which accounting can be conceptualized within Boltanski and Thévenot’s economies of worth theoretic. Drawing on two case illustrations, a not-for-profit welfare agency and a government-owned water utility, we follow the unfolding of disputes and the variety of outcomes in which accounting is implicated. We illustrate the role of accounting in justificatory actions and the ways in which it “holds things together” in compromise arrangements. We also illustrate the situations which challenge the “test” of worth and the innovative accounting responses that either facilitate coordination and agreement or become controversial and be the object of organizational and institutional dispute.

Link

 

Why coffee and not honey – untangling the limits and opportunities for certifying the ‘moral quality’ of products, by Jan-Christoph Janssen

PhD thesis defended the 29th may 2017, under the supervision of Sigfrid Quack and Christine Trampusch, Universität zu Köln

Why did Fair Trade take momentum in some industries within certain national contexts and not in others? In this thesis, I apply the arguments of H. C. White, Tilly, Fligstein and McAdam in order to understand the success and failure of applying similar standards to various product markets through one certificate. Four national settings and seven product categories are compared – coffee, cocoa, bananas, sugar, rice, wine, and honey in Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the USA are chosen and analyzed between the years 2002 and 2011. The effects of the discourse and structural preconditions (i.e. oligopolies) are analyzed in concert through the application of fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA). I investigate the role of firms and social movements in the process of change. Two equifinal paths to change in markets are theorized and analyzed. One of those paths is driven by institutional entrepreneurship, the other by social movements. The findings of the fsQCA back the perspective of social movements and institutional entrepreneurship as substitutive drivers of change in markets and the two paths. Less successful attempts to penetrate markets though certification lack the discourse and the focus of single firms or entrepreneurs within the discourse. In addition, the evidence pinpoints to changing processes over time and the need to move beyond static analyses. This study contributes to the current state of the art by offering a comparative perspective on the effect of social movements and institutional entrepreneurship on mature markets. In this vein, fsQCA is applied deductively and the concepts and paths are disentangled in a compelling manner. INUS conditions are theorized as constitutive parts of paths to change. Finally, this study compares the opportunities and fallacies of penetrating markets through certification in general – and Fair Trade certification in particular.

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The Concept of Development Conventions: Some Suggestions for a Research Agenda

David Dequech (2017)

Journal of Economic Issues, 51:2, p. 285-296.

Abstract. Development conventions are broadly defined as socially shared systems of rules of thought or behavior (institutions) regarding development, with the properties of conformity with conformity and arbitrariness. Conformity with conformity means that the fact that others have adopted a convention, or are expected to adopt it, plays a role in leading someone else to adopt it. Arbitrariness means that a non-inferior alternative exists or is conceivable. This article identifies several social mechanisms through which the conformity of others leads one to conform. It also relates arbitrariness to the possibility of assessing development from various viewpoints, to the inconclusiveness of evidence, and to uncertainty about future consequences.

Link to the article via JIE

Link to the article via ResearchGate

Meat your enemy. Animal rights, alignment, and radical change

Glen Whelan & Jean-Pascal Gond (2017)

Journal of Management Inquiry, 26(2), pp. 123–138.

Abstract. Radical change can be conceived in terms of the reconceiving of ontological distinctions, such as those separating humans from animals. In building on insights from French pragmatism, we suggest that, while no doubt very difficult, radical change can potentially be achieved by creating “alignment” between multiple “economies of worth” or “common worlds” (e.g., the market world of money, the industrial world of efficiency). Using recent campaigns by animal rights organizations as our case, we show how the design of “tests” (e.g., tests of profitability, tests of efficiency) can help align multiple common worlds in support for radical change. Our analysis contributes to the broader management and organization studies literatures by conceiving radical change in terms of changing ontological categorizations (e.g., human/animals vs. sentient/ non-sentient), and by proposing that radical social change agents can be helpfully conceived as opportunistically using events to cumulatively justify the change they desire overtime.

Link to the article

Marketing and compromising for sustainability. Competing orders of worth in the North Atlantic

John H. Finch, Susi Geiger & Rachel Joy Harkness (2017)

Marketing Theory, 17(1), pp. 71-93.

Abstract. The purpose of our article is to propose that compromising is a constitutive characteristic of those marketing systems that entail matters of public interest or concern. In such markets, actors design compromises as they encounter criticisms of and contending justifications for the market’s products, as these refer to price, efficiency in production and use, regulatory compliance or ecological sustainability. Tests and justifications are vital in order to determine what is valuable and by which measure. As a theory framework, the economic sociology of conventions provides a basis for assessing these contests, compromises, and justifications over the issue of worth in a marketing context. Through an ethnographic study of the regulated activities of chemicals service companies supporting the upstream petroleum industry, we assess how actors evaluate and justify the market’s products and services in this environmentally sensitive setting by means of tests drawing from different orders of worth: the green, the industrial and the market order. Our contributions show that by artful and pragmatic compromising around exchanges, actors in marketing systems can balance several conflicting orders of worth over the question of worth without needing to converge on an overriding institutional logic.

Link to the article

Panel « Convention » at the upcoming AFEP congress

At the AFEP congress 2017 (5-7 July) at Rennes 2 (Campus Villejean) there will a session devoted to (applications of) convention theory.

The session « Conventions » will take place Wednesday 5th of July (14-15.30, Room 1.147) and it will be headed by Nicolas Da Silva (CEPN, University of Paris 13)

  • Christian Bessy (IDHES, Ecole normale supérieure de Cachan)
    Conventions de valorisation des brevets et intermédiaires du droit
  • Pierre Robert (Clersé, U. Lille 1)
    Une analyse conventionnaliste de la pauvreté énergétique à partir de l’action publique sénégalaise dans l’énergie
  • Alain Herscovici (CNPq, U. Federal do Espirito Santo)
    L’historicité du capital : quelques considérations d´ordre épistémologique

Registration is possible until 1st of June, see congress home page

https://afep2017.sciencesconf.org/

 

Les mutuelles de santé dans l’extension de la couverture maladie au Sénégal. Une lecture par les conventions et l’économie sociale et solidaire, par Juliette Alenda

Thèse soutenue le 17 mai 2017 sous la direction de Bruno Boidin

Cette thèse aborde la question du potentiel des mutuelles comme base de la protection de la santé en Afrique. Le contexte est celui des régimes actuels de couverture maladie en Afrique de l’Ouest et centrale, hérités de modèles occidentaux, qui ne couvrent qu’une petite partie de la population, les travailleurs du secteur dit formel. Les gouvernements de ces pays se sont engagés dans l’extension de leurs couvertures maladies afin de fournir un accès universel aux soins. Depuis deux décennies, les mutuelles de santé se développent dans cette zone et sont devenues, dans certains pays, des piliers de cette extension. Mais, au regard des évolutions constatées, elles connaissent des difficultés importantes qui freinent leur développement. La littérature se concentre principalement sur les aspects opérationnels et financiers. En nous plaçant dans le contexte du Sénégal, notre thèse vise à montrer que cette vision est restrictive et laisse de côté les dimensions politiques et socioculturelles. En nous appuyant sur la littérature académique et celle des institutions, des entretiens semi-directifs et des études de cas, nous mettons en évidence deux explications principales à la stagnation des mutuelles de santé dans ce pays : un manque d’adhésion des populations qui provient d’une absence de compréhension de leur perception de la mutualité et de la santé, et l’influence des rapports de force entre les divers acteurs impliqués dans l’extension de la couverture maladie. La mobilisation de l’économie des conventions et de la littérature sur l’ESS permet de mettre en perspective ces obstacles et de montrer que les mutuelles ne devraient pas résulter d’un processus « clé en main ».

Jury :

M. Philippe BATIFOULIER, Professeur, Université Paris 13 (Rapporteur)
M. Bruno BOIDIN, Maître de conférences/HDR, Université Lille 1, directeur de thèse
M. Hervé DEFALVARD, Maître de conférences/HDR, Université Paris-Est Marne-La-Vallée, rapporteur
M. Fred EBOKO, Chargé de recherche 1ère Classe/HDR, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement
Mme Florence JANY-CATRICE, Professeur, Université Lille 1

Accéder à la thèse

Mutual health insurance in the context of expanding health coverage in Senegal : a reading by the conventions and the social and solidarity economy

This thesis addresses the idea of mutual health organizations (MHOs) as a foundation for health protection in Africa. Current health coverage schemes in West and Central Africa, inherited from Western models, include only a small part of the population, the so-called formal sector. The governments of these countries have engaged in expanding coverage to provide universal access to health care. For two decades, MHOs have developed in this area and have become, in some countries, the pillar of this expansion. But, in light of observed trends, there are significant problems restricting the development of mutual insurance. The literature mainly focuses on operational and financial aspects. In the context of Senegal, our thesis is to show that this vision is restrictive and ignores the political and socio-cultural dimensions. Building on the literature from institutions, academic literature, semi-structured interviews and case studies, we highlight two main explanations for the stagnation of MHOs in this country: a lack of support of the population due to a deficiency in understanding their perception about mutuality and health; and the influence of power between the various actors involved in the health coverage expansion. Mobilizing the economy of conventions and literature on the SSE, we put these obstacles into perspective and show that MHOs should not result from a « turnkey » process.

 

 

Proposition d’un sujet de thèse en économie dans le cadre du Concours d’accès aux contrats doctoraux des établissements d’enseignement supérieur

Directeur de thèse : Christian Bessy, IDHE.S ENS Paris-Saclay,
Contact : bessy@idhe.ens-cachan.fr

Titre : Le rôle des conseils en propriété industrielle dans la valorisation des brevets et la construction des marchés de technologie

Mots-clefs : Conseil en brevet, marchés de technologie, évaluation, politique d’innovation

Il existe aujourd’hui une littérature abondante sur le rôle des intermédiaires dans la construction des marchés de technologie, littérature qui se renouvelle aujourd’hui du fait du développement de plateformes numériques d’innovation ouverte. Mais peu est dit sur la place des conseils en propriété industrielle dans la construction de ces marchés de technologie et des différentes fonctions qu’ils accomplissent allant bien au-delà de la rédaction et du dépôt de brevet : mise en relation et rédaction des accords de licence, évaluation des titres de propriété industrielle, règlement des litiges en contrefaçon. Suivant une approche institutionnaliste en économie, ils participent à l’équipement des marchés en contribuant à la définition des catégories juridiques mais aussi des conventions en matière d’évaluation des titres de propriété industrielle et de langage de description des inventions techniques. Cette analyse pourrait s’inscrire dans l’écriture d’une histoire économique contemporaine du droit de la propriété industrielle prenant pleinement en compte le rôle de ces intermédiaires à côté de celui des juristes et des économistes (et des ingénieurs). Il s’agit de comprendre plus précisément depuis les années 1980 l’hyper valorisation que connaît le système de brevet et sa critique récente en matière d’innovation, au nom d’un « retour des communs », en examinant une voie explicative autre que celle qui repose sur le laxisme des offices de propriété industrielle conduisant les examinateurs à accorder des brevets de mauvaise qualité.

Le travail empirique commencerait par une série d’interviews auprès de ces intermédiaires avec la visée de déboucher sur une enquête statistique concernant leur mode d’organisation. Le doctorant pourrait s’appuyer dans un premier temps sur l’annuaire des Conseils en propriété industrielle qui permettrait de réaliser une première cartographie de ces intermédiaires (taille du cabinet, région d’implantation, activités (brevet, marque, dessin et modèle)). Dans un deuxième temps, l’idée serait de construire un échantillon représentatif de ces cabinets de conseil pour leur adresser un questionnaire statistique permettant d’appréhender les formes d’organisation et de gestion de leurs activités, ainsi que leurs stratégies de développement.

Différents indicateurs statistiques permettraient d’éclairer l’action collective de régulation de cette profession et de sa fusion éventuelle avec la profession d’avocats qui existe dans différents pays européens mais qui n’a pas vu le jour en France, malgré des tentatives allant de ce sens depuis une douzaine d’années.

The role of the industrial property attorneys in the valuation of patents and the construction of technology markets

Key words: Patent agents, markets for technology, valuation, innovation policy

Today there is an abundant literature on the role of intermediaries in building markets for patented technology. But little is said about the role of industrial property attorneys in the construction of these markets for technology and different functions they perform well beyond writing and filing of patent: matching between licensor and licensee and design of licensing agreements, assessment of industrial property titles, infringement litigation. Following an institutionalist approach in economics, they participate in the equipment of markets for technology contributing to the definition of the legal categories but also conventions of valuation of the titles of industrial property. This analysis could register in writing a contemporary economic history of the law of industrial property taking full account of the role of these intermediaries beside that of lawyers and economists (and engineers). It comes to understand more precisely since the 1980s the hyper development that knows the patent system and its recent criticism, on behalf of a ‘return of the Commons’, by examining one explanatory path other than that based on the laxity of the industrial property offices driving examiners to grant patents of poor quality. The empirical work would begin with a series of interviews with these intermediaries with the aim to lead to a statistical survey regarding their mode of organization, the way they develop their activities and they manage different resources or assets.

The Theoretical Connection Between John R. Commons and Regulation and Convention Theories

Hiroyuki Uni and  Takayuki Nakahara (2017)

In: Uni, Hiroyuki (ed.) (2017): Contemporary Meanings of John R. Commons’s Institutional  Economics. Singapore: Springer, pp. 141-163.

Abstract. After discussing the uniqueness of Dewey’s philosophy in relation to (1) the world’s plurality and multiplicity, (2) the primary significance of multifarious interactions, and (3) the interrelation between habit and intelligence, we clarify the uniqueness of Commons’s institutional economics: (1) value theory based on multiple causation; (2) transactions as the ultimate unit of analysis; and (3) the interrelation between habitual assumption and collective action. We examine the theoretical connection between Commons and regulation and convention theories. The former partly shares and develops the first characteristic listed above, multiple causation, while the latter shares and develops the third characteristic, the interrelation between habitual assumption and collective action. In Institutional Economics (Commons, J.R., Institutional economics: Its place in political economy. Macmillan, New York, 1934), applying the idea of “multiple causation,” Commons approached macrodynamics based on the expansion of some key concepts and studies on income distribution and demand growth. This was a prototype of growth analysis based on the cumulative causation model with various forms of coordination, later formulated as regulation theory. Commons, following and developing Dewey’s theory of habit and intelligence, created the concept of “habitual and customary assumptions” and discussed a collective process for achieving “reasonable values,” such as the common-law method. Two-layered coordination in convention theory attempted to explain the psychological means and social mechanisms involved in the persistence of customs and institutions, which Commons briefly mentioned. Using Commons’s theory as a medium, it may be possible to articulate the macrodynamics developed by regulation theory and the micro theory of human interaction developed by convention theory.

Link to the document