The late Thomas Schelling’s 1960 classic, The Strategy of Conflict, opened up new vistas in the then emergent field of game theory. This personal tribute by a longstanding friend and colleague describes how Schelling’s creative and playful mind, his incredible breadth of interests, and his unparalleled mastery of strategic analysis opened up a new world of intellectual possibilities.
Thomas Schelling, game theorist and co-recipient of the 2005 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, passed away in December 2016 at the age of 95. This column explores how his lack of concern with professional methodological norms allowed him to generate new knowledge with great freedom, and to make innovations in method that may end up being even more significant than his specific insights into economic and social life.
Despite the seemingly obvious link between good management and firm performance, establishing a causal link between the two is actually rather tricky. This column examines how Portuguese firms responded to the sudden and unexpected end to the civil war in Angola in 2002, and discovers an immediate spike in export entry rates for firms with at least one manager with previous experience of exporting to Angola. This finding on the impact of acquired knowledge on performance is especially useful for firms looking to operate in foreign markets.
The negative impact of higher capital requirements under Basel II on the provision of trade finance has been cited as one of the factors behind the Great Trade Collapse. This column exploits the adoption of the Basel II framework in Turkey in 2012 to investigate how a shock to the supply of trade-specific finance (in this case, letters of credit) affected firm-level exports. Changes in the cost of letters of credit affected Turkish firms’ reliance on trade finance, but the regulatory shock did not affect firm-level export growth.
Innovation is typically seen as a cumulative process, with new technologies building on existing knowledge - but our knowledge of how progress in a specific area is influenced by knowledge in other, ‘upstream’ areas is limited. Using US patent data, this column identifies a stable ‘innovation network’ that serves as a conduit for cumulative knowledge development. Technological advances in one field can advance progress in multiple neighbouring fields, but will have a stronger influence on more closely related areas.
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