Arie Lewin, Martin Kenney and Johann Peter Murmann edited a new book on China’s Innovation Challenge: Overcoming the Middle-Income Trap.
New March 2016: Download Fronter Matter and Introductory Chapter
The book will also feature contributions from Justin Yifu Lin, Gordon Redding, Michael Witt, Keun Lee, Douglas Fuller, John Child, Simon Collison, Yves Doz, Keeley Wilson, Silvia Massini, Keren Caspin-Wagner, Eliza Chilimoniuk-Przezdziecka, Weidong Xia, Mary Ann Von Glinow, Yingxia Li, Zhi-Xue Zhang and Weiguo Zhong, Chi-Yue Chiu, Shyhnan Liou, and Letty Y-Y. Kwan, and Rosalie Tung.
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This chapter reviews the ideas that have been developed to describe the emergence and change of structures in three fields: Economics, Management, and Design of Technologies. The chapter focuses on one empirical setting, the economy, and more specifically how firms, industries, and technologies change over time. Today’s industrialized economies are very different from the economies before the industrial revolution. The chapter presents key theoretical ideas from evolutionary economics, management, and technology that try to explain why and how economy has been so dramatically transformed over the past 400 years. You can download a draft of chapter here or find the book in your library or buy it at Amazon.com or MIT Press.
Joseph Innarone and John Tackray are two former members of the DuPont dye business that experienced its golden age after World War II and was sold off in 1979, marking the visible onset of the decline of the U.S. synthetic dye industry. The authors are not research chemists. For the entire period covered by the book, they both held different jobs in the dye business, spanning technical service, sales, and business management. In course of their various assignments that started for both of them as trainees in the Technical Laboratory, the authors acquired substantial knowledge of dye innovations and the business of selling dyes. Rather than attempting a scholarly history (only five sources are cited), the authors offer their own personal history of Du Pont’s dye business. Their story is valuable for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding how DuPont became an innovator in the synthetic dye industry yet in the 1970s could no longer compete successfully with foreign rivals. Du Pont exited the industry in 1979 as later did all other U.S. headquartered firms. Download full Review in AMBIX, Vol. 57 No. 3, November, 2010.
Gladwell writes: In “Why?” (Princeton; $24.95), the Columbia University scholar Charles Tilly sets out to make sense of our reasons for giving reasons. In the tradition of the legendary sociologist Erving Goffman, Tilly seeks to decode the structure of everyday social interaction, and the result is a book that forces readers to reexamine everything from the way they talk to their children to the way they argue about politics. Read the full review in the New Yorker.
I am a big fan of explanations of social phenomena that set forth the precise causal mechanisms that produce them. This book edited by Peter Hedstroem and Richard Swedberg provides a very good introduction to the approach. The only think I don’t like about the piece its believe that all mechanisms in sociology need to refer to individuals. You can download the overview chapter here: Social-mechanism.pdf Click on “More…” for a Table of Contents.
John Searle’s book is a must-read for every social scientist. Searle makes the important distinction between observer independent facts (the sun exists independently of any human being observing it) and oberserver dependent facts (money does not exist unless people agree that a sheet of paper is worth a particular amount). This distinction, in my view, lies at the core of what makes natural sciences different from the social sciences.