This introduction explores the conceptual background and definitions that pertain to understanding standards and standardization in the context of innovation. A general overview is provided of the themes explored in the chapters that follow.
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Richard Hawkins and Knut Blind
The Challenges We Face
Clement A. Tisdell
Outlines the objectives of this book and the reasons for pursuing these. In doing so, it specifies the aim of each chapter and provides a brief account of its contents. It is argued that in order to better assess the nature of our current environmental challenges: we need to consider their basic historical origins; we should take account of the limitations of available economic measures and methods for valuing environmental change; we ought to be aware of the imperfections of scientific predictions about the nature, course and consequences of biophysical attributes altered by environmental change (such as increasing levels of atmospheric CO2); and we should recognize that social embedding (of different types) is a serious impediment to humankind responding effectively to actual or predicted environmental change, especially human-induced environmental change, including human-generated climate change. The importance of each of these assertions is demonstrated and illustrated.
Towards an Understanding of the Economies of Neighbourhoods and Communities
Reinout Kleinhans, Darja Reuschke, Maarten van Ham, Colin Mason and Stephen Syrett
Until recently, entrepreneurship and neighbourhood studies were academic disciplines which rarely interacted with each other. However, recent macroeconomic and societal trends have pointed the spotlight on the nexus between entrepreneurship, neighbourhoods and communities, highlighting not only the importance of ‘the local’ in entrepreneurship, but also the huge gaps in our knowledge base regarding this tripartite relationship. In much of the literature, a distinction is drawn between entrepreneurship taking place in neighbourhoods or communities, and entrepreneurship taking place for neighbourhoods and communities. This chapter starts out from the international call for interdisciplinary approaches to entrepreneurship and firm formation to overcome entrepreneurship research and neighbourhood and community studies’ mutual neglect for one another’s fields of research. This introduction to a volume of chapters aims to shed light on the multiple relationships between entrepreneurship, neighbourhoods and communities across several countries. It asks how neighbourhoods and communities can shape entrepreneurship, a question for which the relevance stems from radical changes of (inter)national and regional labour markets and growing evidence that neighbourhood contexts impact on entrepreneurship and self-employment in various ways. It also asks the ‘reverse’ question: how does entrepreneurship influence neighbourhoods and communities? In doing so, the chapter (and many other chapters in the book) treat ‘community’ as a local, spatially embedded concept. Particular attention is devoted to community-based forms of enterprise and their potential for contemporary bottom-up neighbourhood regeneration.
Åke E. Andersson and David Emanuel Andersson
The games of markets including entrepreneur-driven economic development have always taken place on an arena of the combined material and non-material infrastructure. The infrastructure thus constitutes the arena; it is public capital that facilitates and constrains the rapid “games” of buying and selling that economic agents play. Agents perceive the arena as stable because its evolution is so much slower than that of markets for goods and services. Synergetic theory is well equipped to handle such multiple timescales. Its application to economic phenomena enables us to show that competitive equilibrium theory requires prior specification of the infrastructural arena, which consists of public knowledge, space-bridging networks and institutions. Synergetic theory can also help us avoid the pitfalls of conventional macroeconomic theory. In this chapter, we demonstrate how macroeconomic equilibrium depends on the infrastructure. We claim that all goods are durable and are thus instances of capital. This means that historical trajectories, current outcomes, uncertain expectations and changes in spatial accessibility all influence the growth and fluctuations in the value of capital goods. Dynamic non-linear interactions between scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs affect investments. New technological or design ideas spread most easily among spatially proximate firms within communication and transport networks. Such network effects shape processes of spatial clustering, agglomeration and urbanization. Based on causal and various econometric considerations, it has been common for economists to resort to difference equation in their modeling strategies. But if we include dynamic interactions within a system of difference equations—so as to accommodate realistic causal assumptions—it will often result in complex models with chaotic outcomes. However, there are ways out of chaos in economic modeling. The first is to focus on continuous dynamic synergetic models, which implies a careful separation of variables and dynamic processes according to their relevant timescales as well as the collectiveness of their impacts.
Exposing the Limitations and Abuses of Econometrics
Imad A. Moosa
Prices, Production and Consumption
This chapter is an introduction to the most important topics regarding the crude oil market. Several data and facts of the market are briefly presented. An outstanding feature of crude oil at the core of public debates is its character as a fossil and non-renewable fuel. The chapter enlightens what this means in economic terms and how it is connected to the investigation at hand. As another issue, recent research on the oil market has, to a great part, focused on the driving forces of the oil price. In particular, our interest is in the question of whether economic fundamentals are the only factors influencing the price or whether speculation may also be effective. Finally, the role of OPEC and its potential power to impact on the oil market is considered.
Brad R. Humphreys, Jane E. Ruseski and Jie Yang
The question of the extent of complementarity between sports betting and spending on spectator sports viewing is addressed in this chapter using Canadian household spending data. They find that spending on betting and spending on spectator sports are indeed complementary. Intriguingly, they also find that betting and spending on sports participation are substitutes. This suggests that further deregulation of sports gambling in Canada could well lead to less physical activity and more sedentary life styles for Canadians.
What were the causes of the Great Recession? The mainstream approach vs. the monetary interpretation
Did a Crash in Money Growth Cause the Global Slump?
Most analyses of the Great Recession have blamed it on weaknesses of banking systems, notably excessive losses and a lack of capital. However, this mainstream approach is far from convincing, as most banks had higher capital/asset ratios ahead of the crisis than on average in recent decades. An alternative argument – that the falls in asset prices and slump in demand were due to a crash in the rate of money growth – is proposed, and is shown to be applicable to the main countries.