2017 Awards

Elinor Ostrom Lifetime Achievement Award

The SIOE Board voted to award the 2017 Elinor Ostrom Lifetime Achievement Award to Professor Yoram Barzel (link is external)(University of Washington). Professor Barzel got his BA from Hebrew University in 1953, and MA in 1956. He moved to the University of Chicago where he got his PhD in 1961 under the supervision of Arnold Harberger. Upon graduation he moved to the University of Washington, where he spent the rest of his career, including the 1970s where Yoram contributed to the glory years of the department that included several leaders in the field, including Steven Cheung, Douglass North, and Keith Leffler. Yoram's work includes several of the early seminal work in the field of Organizational economics and has contributed to the literature continuously from 1963 to 2016. Two papers merit special attention:

  • Optimal timing of innovations”, 1968: This is an early and innovative paper in the theory of property rights. The paper exploits the idea of first possession rule and rent dissipation in the context of innovations. It led to a literature on ‘patent races’ and showed a link with earlier papers on open access resources by noting dissipation could result from premature use of an asset.
  • Measurement costs and the organization of markets”, 1982: This watershed paper brings together many of the ideas found in his earlier work, but within a single framework. It shows how broad and general the application of a transaction cost analysis could be by exploiting the concept of measurement costs to explain such practices as warranties, brand names, retail packaging, share contracts and vertical integration. At the time, it was perhaps the best demonstration of the power of Coase’s concept of transaction costs.

Oliver E. Williamson Best Conference Paper Award

The finalists for the 2017 Williamsom Award were:

Both are great papers. The committee finally choose “Common Ownership, Competition, and Top Management Incentives” for the 2017 Williamson Award. The paper is a beautiful combination of theory and evidence on how structure of ownership in an industry affect CEO compensation. The authors show theoretically and empirically that executives are paid less for their own firm’s performance and more for their rivals’ performance if an industry’s firms are more commonly owned by the same set of investors. The authors are able to show this by exploiting a quasi-exogenous variation in common ownership from a mutual fund trading scandal to support a causal interpretation.

Best Poster Award

The best poster award goes to “Gulag-mart: Gray and Black Markets Within Modern Russian Penal System” by Anton V. Tabakh (Higher School of Economics, Mosow) and Polina V. Kryuchkova (Higher School of Economics, Moscow).

Russia’s FSIN (Federal Correctional Service) - direct successor of notorious GULAG - is one of the biggest prison systems in the world, with about 1000 penal institutions. While exchange of goods between inmates is prohibited, there is a flourishing market for goods and services with counterparties inside and outside penitentiaries. The authors find that (1) prices of goods and services can significantly deviate within closed system than at outside market, in both legal and semi-legal trading (2) lack of formal property rights significantly distorts behavior of economic agents and (3) opportunistic behavior of prison staff shapes market structure and outcomes.