Fiches de cours 2017-2018


Readings in Organization Economics


Lecturer(s) :

Visentin Fabiana




Every year




This course will expose you to a broad range of topics in a research field labeled as ‘Organizational Economics’, by focusing on the following main questions: - How is knowledge produced? - How do organizations manage the innovation processes? - How do industries evolve over time?


Expected student activities

To prepare for each session, you will read from the list for that day assigned. A discussion leader will review briefly the reading(s) assigned and comment on it(them). The rest of the class will then join in as interest and time dictates.

Assessment methods

Your grade will be based on class participation (50%) and a final oral presentation (50%).

While the primary purpose of the course is to expose you to a broad range of topics in a research field labeled as `Organizational Economics', an important secondary objective is to develop your skills to critically evaluate research papers in the discipline. Doing so is the best way to learn how to design and structure your own research projects as well as how to develop theory and present it in the format of empirical research papers. For this reason, this course has a seminar format and requires your active participation.



The material for the course is based primarily on published papers. Most of the papers are available at It is imperative that you are well prepared to discuss the research papers assigned for each day. I expect you to be able to lead a focused, in-depth discussion of any of the assigned paper. For each session, you will be responsible for leading the class discussion (on the assigned article(s) and you will also be required to prepare a brief (about one page) summary of that article(s) to circulate to your colleagues.

Regular attendance and participation are critical to your successful completion of this course. You should complete the assigned readings and assignments prior to each class. Each reading will be assigned to a reviewer and s/he will be asked to critically review the reading and comment on it. The discussion will then open to the class. You are expected to participate actively in each class session. If, for some reason you are not prepared, please let me know before the start ' at the end of the day, we are all co-producer of the class discussion.

In preparing the articles, it may be helpful to keep the following sets of questions in mind:

  1. Introduction

-        What is the main research question in this study? Why is it interesting?

-        How does it relate to existing evidence on the topic? What's new?


  1. Theory

-        What are the main concepts and terms the author relies on? Are they clear and well defined?

-        Why are the theoretical propositions interesting? Are they generalizable and falsifiable?

-        Does the theory answer the main research question of the paper?


  1. Empirics (if the paper is empirical)

-        Are the links between the theoretical propositions and the empirical hypothesis precise? Are the empirical variables adequate translations of the concepts and terms used in the theory? Does the proposed methodology make sense? Is the data sample adequate and appropriate? Does the proposed research design make the most use of the data available?


  1. Discussion/Conclusions

-        Do the results support the theory? What are the next steps in developing the theory further? What are the scope conditions of the theory? What are the weakness of the research design and how can the design be improved in a future study?

Final Oral Presentation

For you final presentation, you should come up with an interesting and relevant research question related to one of the topics discussed in class. You will have a slot of 30 minutes to present your ideas and to provide justification for why it is worthwhile to study what you have proposed. Such justification should be grounded in a brief review of the relevant literature. You should feel free to solicit help from me throughout the next weeks on the final presentation.

Policy on Auditors:

Auditors will be accepted provided they attend regularly and fully participate in the classes. Auditors are expected to do all the reading and accept primary reviewer assignments. They will also be asked to write the reports on assigned readings. However, the final oral presentation is not required for auditors.

Class 1:

Introductory lecture:

Davis, M. 1971. What's interesting...or how do theories that are generally considered interesting differ from theories that are generally considered non-interesting? Phil. Soc. Sci. 1, 309-344.

How is knowledge produced?

Almeida, P., Kogut B. 1999. Localization of knowledge and the mobility of engineers in regional networks. Management Science 45 (7), 905-917.

Audretsch D.B. Stephan P.E. (1996). Company-scientist location links: The case of biotechnology. American Economic Review 86, 641-652.

Stephan, P. 2010. The economics of Science, in B.Hall and N.Rosenberg (eds.), Handbook of economics of Innovation, North Holland.

Class 2:

Conti, A., Denas, O. and Visentin, F. 2014. Knowledge Specialization in PhD Student Groups. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 61(1):52-67.

Stephan, P. 2012. Founding for research (chapter 6 in the book How economics shapes science).

Wuchty, S. Jones, B. Uzzi B. 2007.The increasing dominance of teams in the production of knowledge. Science 316, 1030-1036.

Patents and publications as outcomes of the knowledge production function

Agrawal, A. and Henderson, R. 2002. Putting patents in the context: exploring knowledge transfer from MIT. Management Science 48, 44-60.

Azoulay, P., Ding, W., Stuart, T. 2009. The impact of academic patenting on the rate, quality, and direction of (public) research oputput. Journal of Industrial Economics 57, 637-676.

Calderini M., Franzoni C., Vezzulli A. 2007. If star scientists do not patent: The effect of productivity, basicness and impact on the decision to patent in the academic world.  Research policy 36, 303-319.

Class 3:

How do organizations manage the innovation processes?

Henderson, R.M. and K. Clark. 1990. Architectural Innovation: The Reconfiguration of Existing Product Technologies and the Failure of Established Firms.  Administrative Science Quarterly, 35: 9-30.

Christensen, C. 1997. How can great firms fail? Chapter 1. In The innovator's dilemma. Harvard

King, A., & Tucci, C. 2002. Incumbent entry into new market niches: The role of experience and managerial choice in the creation of dynamic capabilities. Management Science, 48(2): 171-186.

Marx, M., Gans, J. & Hsu, D. 2014. Dynamic commercialization strategies for disruptive technologies: Evidence from the speech recognition industry. Management Science, 60(12): 3103-3123.

Class 4:

Cohen, W.M. and Levinthal, D.A. 1989.  Innovation and learning: The two faces of R&D--implications for the analysis of R&D investment.  Economic Journal, 99: 569-596.

Rosenkopf, L., & Almeida, P. 2003. Overcoming local search through alliances and mobility. Management Science, 49(6): 751-766

Rivkin, J., & Siggelkow, N. 2003. Balancing search and stability: Interdependencies among elements of organizational design. Management Science, 49(3): 290-311.

Cassiman, B. and Veugelers, R. 2006.  In Search of Complementarity in Innovation Strategy: Internal R&D and External Knowledge Acquisition.   Management Science, 52: 68-82

Class 5:

Jaffe, A. 1986. Technological Opportunity and spillovers of R&D: evidence from firm's patent,profits and market value.   American Economic Review, 76, 984-1001.

Levin, R., Klevorick, A., Nelson, R. and Winter, S. 1987. Appropriating returns from industrial research and development.   Brookings Papers on Economic Activity,  3: 783-820.

Teece, D. 1986. Profiting from technological innovation. Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing, and public policy. Research Policy, 15: 285-305.

Geroski, P. 1993. The profitability of innovating firms. The Rand Journal of Economics, 24(2): 198-211.

Class 6:

How do industries evolve over time?

Dosi, G. 1982. Technological paradigms and technological trajectories. Research Policy, 11: 147-162.

Jovanovic, B. and G. MacDonald.  1994. The life cycle of a competitive industry.  Journal of Political Economy, 102: 322-347.

Jovanovic, B. 2001. Fitness and age: Review of Carroll and Hannan's demography of   corporation and industries. Journal of Economic Literature, 39(1): 105-119.

Thompson, P. 2005.  Selection and firm survival: Evidence from the shipbuilding industry, 1825-1914. Review of Economics and Statistics, 87: 26-36.

Class 7:

Students' presentations

Ressources en bibliothèque

In the programs

Reference week

      Exercise, TP
      Project, other


  • Autumn semester
  • Winter sessions
  • Spring semester
  • Summer sessions
  • Lecture in French
  • Lecture in English
  • Lecture in German