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Oliver E. Williamson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oliver Eaton Williamson (born September 27, 1932) is an American economist, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and recipient of the 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, which he shared with Elinor Ostrom.[1]

Biography

A student of Ronald Coase, Herbert A. Simon and Richard Cyert, he specializes in transaction cost economics. Williamson attended Central High School in Superior, Wisconsin.[2] He received his B.S. in management from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1955, MBA from Stanford University in 1960, and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 1963. From 1965 to 1983 he was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and from 1983 to 1988, Gordon B. Tweedy Professor of Economics of Law and Organization at Yale University. He has held professorships in business administration, economics, and law at the University of California, Berkeley since 1988 and is the Edgar F. Kaiser Professor Emeritus at the Haas School of Business.[3] As a Fulbright Distinguished Chair, in 1999 he taught Economics at the University of Siena.

Found to be one of the most cited authors in the social sciences,[4] in 2009, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics for "his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm",[5] sharing it with Elinor Ostrom.

Theory

By drawing attention at a high theoretical level to equivalences and differences between market and non-market decision-making, management and service provision, Williamson has been influential in the 1980s and 1990s debates on the boundaries between the public and private sectors.

His focus on the costs of transactions has led Williamson to distinguish between repeated case-by-case bargaining on the one hand and relationship-specific contracts on the other. For example, the repeated purchasing of coal from a spot market to meet the daily or weekly needs of an electric utility would represent case-by-case bargaining. But over time, the utility is likely to form ongoing relationships with a specific supplier, and the economics of the relationship-specific dealings will be importantly different, he has argued.

Other economists have tested Williamson's transaction-cost theories in empirical contexts. One important example is a paper by Paul L. Joskow, "Contract Duration and Relationship-Specific Investments: Empirical Evidence from Coal Markets", in American Economic Review, March 1987. The incomplete contracts approach to the theory of the firm and corporate finance is partly based on the work of Williamson and Coase.[6]

Williamson is credited with the development of the term "information impactedness", which applies in situations in which it is difficult to ascertain the costs to information. As he explains in Markets and Hierarchies, it exists "mainly because of uncertainty and opportunism, though bounded rationality is involved as well. It exists when true underlying circumstances relevant to the transaction, or related set of transactions, are known to one or more parties but cannot be costlessly discerned by or displayed for others".

Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences

Williamson's pipe holder on display at the Nobel Prize Museum
Williamson's pipe holder on display at the Nobel Prize Museum

In 2009, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited Williamson and Elinor Ostrom to share the 10-million Swedish kronor (£910,000; $1.44 million) prize "for his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm".[7] Williamson, in the BBC's paraphrase of the academy's reasoning, "developed a theory where business firms served as structures for conflict resolution".[8]

Awards and fellowships

Selected papers

  • Oliver E. Williamson (1981). "The Economics of Organization: The Transaction Cost Approach" (PDF). The American Journal of Sociology. 87 (3): 548–577. doi:10.1086/227496. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-05-30. Retrieved 2012-01-11.
  • Oliver E. Williamson (2002). "The Theory of the Firm as Governance Structure: From Choice to Contract". Journal of Economic Perspectives. 16 (3): 171–195. doi:10.1257/089533002760278776. JSTOR 3216956.

Books

See also

References

  1. ^ "Nobel Prizes 2009". www.nobelprize.org. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  2. ^ "Five Individuals, 1952 Cathedral Football Team Among 2010 HOF Inductees". Superior Telegram. February 11, 2010.
  3. ^ "Curriculum Vitae of Oliver E. Williamson" (PDF). University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
  4. ^ Pessali, Huascar F. (2006). "The rhetoric of Oliver Williamson's transaction cost economics". Journal of Institutional Economics. 2 (1): 45–65. doi:10.1017/S1744137405000238. ISSN 1744-1382.
  5. ^ Sveriges Riksbank's Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2009. Sveriges Riksbank. 12 October 2009. Archived from the original on 17 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-12..
  6. ^ Hart, Oliver, (1995), Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-828881-6.
  7. ^ https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/laureates/2009/williamson-facts.html Retrieved May-05-21
  8. ^ Special Issue of Journal of Retailing in Honor of The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2009 to Oliver E. Williamson, Volume 86, Issue 3, pp. 209–290 (September 2010). Edited by Arne Nygaard and Robert Dahlstrom

External links

From the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley:

From the University of California, Berkeley:

In The News:

Awards
Preceded by
Paul Krugman
Laureate of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics
2009
Served alongside: Elinor Ostrom
Succeeded by
Peter A. Diamond
Dale T. Mortensen
Christopher A. Pissarides
This page was last edited on 20 September 2019, at 01:27
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