Industrial Organization and Technological Change
Key publications: (please click on underlined titles for access to pdf files)
"Factor Costs and the Diffusion of Ring Spinning in Britain prior to World War I," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 96, 1, February 1981: 89-109.
An empirical analysis of the relative factor costs of introducing alternative spinning technologies in (what was at the time) the world's leading cotton textile industry that emphasizes the importance of the relation between vertical integration of spinning and weaving for the diffusion of new high-throughput technologies.
"Competition, Specialization, and Industrial Decline," Journal of Economic History, 41, 1, March 1981: 31-38.
Argues that the case of the British cotton textile industry in the early decades of the twentieth century demonstrates the problems of relying on market coordination, as manifested by high degrees of horizontal competition and vertical specialization, for the development and diffusion of advanced technologies.
"Industrial Organization and Technological Change: The Decline of the British Cotton Industry," Business History Review, 57, 2, Summer 1983: 195-236.
Awarded the Newcomen Prize for best article in Business History Review in 1993: documents the persistence of both fragmented structures of industrial organization and traditional, low-throughput, technologies in the British cotton textile industry during the first half of the twentieth century and shows how organization and technology interacted in the long-term decline of the industry.
"The Performance of the British Cotton Industry, 1870-1913," with William Mass, Research in Economic History, 9, 1984: 1-44.
This shows how the British cotton textile industry remained competitive prior to World War I while clinging to traditional technologies by cutting material and equipment (replacement) costs. increasing labor effort, and exporting to poorer nations (especially India), thus making it vulnerable to Japanese competition in the interwar period.
"The Decline of the British Economy: An Institutional Perspective," with Bernard Elbaum, Journal of Economic History, 44, 2, June 1984: 567-583; reprinted in C. Feinstein, ed., The Economic Development of the United Kingdom Since 1870, Elgar Publishing, 1995; reprinted in David Coates, ed., Models of Capitalism: Debating Strengths and Weaknesses , Elgar, 2002.
This article argues that the cases of the British cotton textile, steel, automobile and shipbuilding industries in the early decades of the twentieth century demonstrate the problems of relying on market coordination, as manifested by high degrees of horizontal competition and vertical specialization, for the development and diffusion of advanced technologies.
"The British Cotton Industry and International Competitive Advantage: The State of the Debates," with William Mass, Business History, 32, 4, October 1990: 9-65; reprinted in M. B. Rose, ed., International Competition and Strategic Response in the Textile Industries since 1870, Cass, 1991.
This is a summary of the extensive debates on the topic among economic and business historians, spawned largely by the work of Lazonick (including the articles cited above), with new material on the dynamic development of the Japanese cotton textile and textile machinery industries in the 1880's and 1890's to world leadership in the 1930's.
Organization and Technology in Capitalist Development, Elgar Publishing, 1992.
This is a collection of previously published essays in the series, Economists of the Twentieth Century, edited by Mark Perlman and Mark Blaug that connects the research on industrial organization with that on work organization and business institutions.
"The Managerial Revolution and the Developmental State: The Case of U.S. Agriculture," with Louis Ferleger, Business and Economic History, 22, 2, 1993, 67-98.
This article argues that, using a model of business organization that was analogous to the "managerial revolution" in US industrial corporations (as documented by Chandler and others) the "developmental state" was a central actor in the development and diffusion of US agricultural technology from the late nineteenth century until the post-World War II decades.
"The Organization of Innovation in a Transitional Economy: Business and Government in Chinese Electronic Publishing," with Qiwen Lu, Research Policy , 30, 1, 2001: 35-54.
This is a detailed case study of the emergence and growth of a world competitive Chinese high-tech company that shows the importance of the evolving relation between (as opposed to a separation of) the government and business sectors in China's transition to a market-oriented economy.