29 april 2015
“The market cannot be usefully understood as separate from society."

Values such as care and fairness are not just values that may be found in families, closely-knit communities, or that are discussed among only some philosophically-minded people as their working week ends and they enjoy a glass of wine.

While social economics does not tend to favour any particular set of values over others (values are discussed equally well over a glass of wine as over a pint of beer or a smoothie), social economists are concerned about inclusiveness. Values in support of inclusion of the disfavoured, allowing people to take part in the economy as a practice through which we can provide for ourselves and those we love, are still a broad set of values.

In this respect, the market is no different from any other social practice: all are value-laden, and practices are laden with a plurality of values. Indeed, even when adopting an academic mind, one that is trained to abstract, applying Occam’s Razor, a social economist would emphasize that any single social practice must be understood as part of a larger social setting. Even such a multifaceted practice as the market cannot be usefully understood as separate from society.

07 march 2016
Why the West will have its climate cake and eat it

Professor Wilfred Dolfsma explains why only the West will benefit from Paris’ infeasible climate treaty.

Read more

03 may 2016
Chinese mergers are some of the best performing

China buys into corporate mergers, and proves better at it than the West

14 january 2015
Startende ondernemer niet vanzelf innovatief

Voor innovatieve startende ondernemingen is meer nodig dan faciliterende extra’s vanuit het beleid. Sectoren met veel starters zijn juist minder innovatief, blijkt uit onderzoek van de de Groningse economen Wilfred Dolfsma en Gerben van der Velde. Om de innovativiteit te verhogen is het van belang om onderliggende wet- en regelgeving, waaronder de faillissementswetgeving en het arbeidsrecht, meer op startende ondernemers toe te snijden.

24 october 2016
Ongeduld in de polder is een slechte zaak

Poltici en beleidsmakers worden vaak afgerekend op daadkracht en snelle besluiten. Volgens de Groningse econoom en filosoof Dolfsma is dat een slechte zaak. Een complexe samenleving zoals Nederland heeft baat bij goed afgewogen en breed gedragen besluiten, en heeft dus baat bij traag beslissen. De gevolgen van een besluit komen niet alleen beter in kaart, maar zullen ook emotielozer en dus beter afgewogen kunnen worden.

18 july 2013
Mensenhandel op de Academie?

Het werven van nieuwe universitaire medewerkers in het buitenland lijkt verdacht veel op mensenhandel, aldus de Groningse econoom Wilfred Dolfsma. De salarissen zijn lager dan bijvoorbeeld in de VS en de gevraagde prestaties zijn net zo hoog. Bij strikte toepassing van het Wetboek van Strafrecht moet de conclusie zijn dat benoemingscommissies zich schuldig maken aan mensenhandel. Voor een deel faalt de wetgever door deze bovenmatig breed geformuleerde wetten in het leven te roepen, maar je kunt ook wel eens nadenken of het werven academici op deze voet verder moet.

15 july 2011
Entrepreneurs on Twitter: #daretogive

29 july 2011

What does science tell us about revolution, about a major upheaval of an existing and taken-for-granted situation? In the fields of economics and management there is hardly a piece of solid work to suggest how a revolution may be weathered. Revolutions are rather rare, fortunately, but that does mean that collecting and analyzing data can be daunting.

11 october 2016
What is Postgraduate Study?

The Associate Dean for Teaching, Glendonbrook Institute for Enterprise Development Director Wilfred Dolfsma, and the Associate Dean for Research, Digital Technologies Institute Director Ahmet Kondoz, have banded together to explain what is ‘Postgraduate Study’.

13 october 2016
hard brexit?

Hard Brexit will hit the Shires hardest

A really hard Brexit, not even with a special deal for certain industries, will hit the GB economy hard. Companies in the financial industries will be the first to leave, deserting GB as quickly as they came to London when regulatory changes in the US made that place unattractive in the 1970s. The move will likely be more rapid as the world is now a more globalized place than it was then. Related professional services firms will move along.

Hard Brexit will also, however, hit companies in industries for which export is important hard as import tariffs and non-tariff barriers are erected again making team-GB products more expensive. Since it takes longer to move manufacturing, divesting out of such industries in the GB will take some more time. In part, exporting firms depend on input they source from outside of GB, however. All imports become more expensive as sterling slumps further. Consumers suffer from rising prices for imported goods, but producers of export goods will not benefit from their products being cheaper abroad due to a historically weak pound sterling as much as some hope. Producers of exportables themselves import materials and other inputs for their production.

The GB government will be enticed to lower taxes for firms to partly compensate for reduced competitiveness, persuading some to stay. GB government will not be able to compensate for reduced corporate tax income by increasing income personal taxes. Voters will revolt, and increasing taxes in a depressed economy will only prolong a recession that is to be expected. If the budget deficit is not to explode, government expenses will be cut across the board. The NHS and the UK social security system broadly will be increasingly under-resourced.

In the meantime, non-GB people will be made to feel increasingly less welcome, informally and because of measures introduced by a GB government to placate the shires electorate that voted Brexit. Some will leave this country, and others will move to the more cosmopolitan cities and areas that know what it means to be open for business. It will become increasingly clear that large parts of the GB economy rely heavily on non-GB individuals, ranging from knowledge intensive industries as finance and education to industries where menial jobs are on offer. GB citizens are not educated or willing enough to take up such jobs in large enough numbers to compensate for the drain. Not at least for many years to come. These industries will flourish there, or at least not be hurt as much, in cosmopolitan areas of GB.

While services will move abroad, leaving a city such as London, some …..

Chinese tourists and Russian oligarchs looking for deals in Westfield and Westminster will not compensate for the slump to come, even when they are attracted by it.

14 october 2016
Why 'outside' entrepreneurs thrive

Why 'outside' entrepreneurs thrive

In many countries or communities it is entrepreneurs who are not local who thrive. Examples abound. Indians famously in east and southern Africa (and now in the UK), Lebanese in west Africa, Chinese in south-east Asia, increasingly in east Africa, and in Latin America as well.

Such outsiders are heralded for their thrift, zeal and closely knit network of contacts to collaborate with. All of these contribute to outsiders' success. While we do not hear the stories of outsiders trying their luck as entrepreneur in a foreign environment but failing at it, the success stories stay with us.

As much as the success of outside entrepreneurs means something about them and their networks, however, it also means something about the countries and communities they are successful in. Locals know the local market, and have an incentive to become entrepreneur. The societies in which outside entrepreneurs thrive often lack welfare support and face high unemployment: a huge incentives for insiders to set up shop. The kinds of industries in which outsiders thrive, counter-intuitively, are industries in which investments required are relatively low and local market knowledge is important. One would expect insiders to succeed there.

So why do local, inside entrepreneurs not jump at this opportunity, but rather leave the field to outsiders? In research with Dr De Lanoy, rector of the University of Curacao (a small, new country in the Caribbean), forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Issues, we provide a suggestion.

Inside, local entrepreneurs, we suggest, do less well <because of> the closely knit ties in the local community. Their community is more closely knit than the entrepreneurial community of outsiders The closely knit ties are drawn on by people to request assistance or gifts from the inside entrepreneur that does venture it. The inside entrepreneur cannot resist such calls on him, especially if each call is small, for fear of being ex-communicated and not being able to rely on the business of anybody in the community. Together the calls upon the inside entrepreneur running a small shop or a restaurant add up to an unviable business.

Outsiders will not be called upon by members of the community they end up thriving in, and so can expect to do better than inside entrepreneurs. Indeed outside entrepreneurs, from the perspective of a country such as Curacao, may not have thrived in their own community as inside entrepreneurs!

23 january 2017
Women on boards drive up innovation

A number of countries have adopted laws to promote that women join the boards of corporations. Evidence of the beneficial effects for corporations is mixed, however.

Diversity of a team's composition can, to wit, be advantageous as well as disadvantageous. More information may be considered, but discussions between diverse individuals can result in deadlock too. Birds of a feather flocking together in a corporate board perhaps quickly reach the wrong decisio.

When diversity is information-related, such as when individuals on a board draw on someone's education or experience in a firm, it may be argued that this is good for the firm. When diversity relates to inalienable individual characteristics, such as gender and age, it is argued to create fault-lines.

For Fortune-500 firms in high-tech industries, we establish what the separate and combined effects of each types of diversities are. This was not done before. We focus on the effect on the decision to invest in R&D. R&D investments result in marketable innovations that should secure a firm's competitive position in the log run.

What we find is remarkable. Diversity in Board members' educational background will lead to more R&D, tenure diversity to less. Gender diversity also will make a firm invest more in R&D, but not age diversity.

The most remarkable finding is the positive moderation we found: gender diversity on a corporate board allows the board to capitalise on educational diversity even better.

27 february 2018
Moderner muziekbeleid, maar niet volgens advies Raad voor Cultuur

Boekman Blog, February 2018 [in Dutch]