List of issues

Contents of issue 11-12/2006

Łukasz Hardt - The Origin and Evolution of the Term “Transaction Cost”, abstract, article

Łukasz Arendt - Is There an ‘Unemployment Hysteresis’ Effect in Poland?, abstract, article

Sylwia Zajączkowska-Jakimiak - Know-How and Human Capital in the Theory of Economic Growth, abstract, article

Katarzyna Nowicka - Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Sector, abstract, article

Witold Nowiński - Early Internationalization of Enterprises: A New Area of Research, abstract, article


Book Review: Jan W. Bossak, Systemy gospodarcze a globalna konkurencja (Economic Systems and Global Competition), Szkoła Główna Handlowa, Warsaw 2006, 363 pp. - reviewed by Tadeusz Kowalik

Book Review: Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomia. Świat od podszewski (Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything), Helion, Gliwice 2006, 292 pp. - reviewed by Marek Lubiński

Regional Development and Social Development - Tadeusz Smuga

Index of Publications in 2006

Łukasz Hardt - The Origin and Evolution of the Term “Transaction Cost”

The article tracks the origin of the term “transaction cost” and shows changes in the meaning of the phrase over time. The author applies analysis methods commonly used in research into the history of economic ideas.
The first part of the article, which shows how the term “transaction cost” originated and developed, refers to “intellectual history” and presents various forms of “elementary ideas,” focusing on the concept of “costly exchange” and “transaction cost.”
The author argues that the idea of “costly exchange” has been known in the theory of economics practically since its beginnings, as exemplified by works by Aristotle, Smith and Menger.
In the second part of the article, after tracking the origin of the term “transaction cost,” the author changes his analysis method in favor of an “institutional approach” and focuses on changes in the meaning of the term “transaction cost.” The analysis reveals that, contrary to what many researchers claim, the term “transaction cost” was first used in economic literature as early as 1940 by Tibor Scitovsky in his work A Study of Interest and Capital. Most economists addressing this matter in literature tend to believe that the term was first used by Jacob Marschak in 1950.
The study also showed that initially the term “transaction cost” had a strictly specific meaning (as the cost of transferring capital assets, for example). With time, as new institutional economics developed, the term lost its limited meaning and became a more general category.
The author concludes by observing that the many meanings of the term “transaction cost”—coupled with the lack of consensus among economists on the influence of transaction costs on economic effectiveness—explain why further research is needed into the role of transaction costs in the functioning of markets and enterprises.

Keywords: transaction cost, intellectual history, institutional approach
Article: PDF

Łukasz Arendt - Is There an ‘Unemployment Hysteresis’ Effect in Poland?

The study sets out to determine if it is possible to speak of an “unemployment hysteresis” effect in Poland. The paper uses two research methods: a descriptive analysis of structural factors that maybe responsible for changes in the Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment (NAIRU) in Poland; and the Gordon method (1989), on the basis of which the author checks the hypothesis about the existence of unemployment hysteresis in Poland.
The analysis showed that structural changes were unlikely to contribute to an increase in NAIRU. On the basis of the Gordon model the author demonstrated that there was no reason to reject the hypothesis about the occurrence of “full unemployment hysteresis” in Poland. Even though the results obtained by the author do not clearly confirm that Polish unemployment is indeed characterized by hysteresis, it seems that this lag effect may explain why Poland still suffers from high unemployment, the author notes. The hysteresis effect is primarily due to the outflow of labor and an insufficient level of human capital in the Polish economy.

Keywords: hysteresis, unemployment, NAIRU
Article: PDF

Sylwia Zajączkowska-Jakimiak - Know-How and Human Capital in the Theory of Economic Growth

The author presents the evolution of the theory of economic growth and concludes that fundamental questions about the theory of growth should be addressed by applying a general concept of human capital based on knowledge and qualifications. Human capital is the most comprehensive indicator to describe economic growth and differences in affluence among nations.
The analysis is divided into two parts. The first part of the study describes the historical evolution of “economic thought”—from a stage where technological progress was treated as an “exogenous phenomenon” and a veritable “manna from the sky,” as the author describes it, to a situation in which technological progress became an “endogenous variable” resulting from the accumulated know-how. The subsequent evolution of the term involved a reevaluation of the role of the human factor in production. With time, economists discovered that, alongside physical capital, human capital was a prime factor that contributed to growth as a driving force behind technological progress.
The second part of the work describes the complex role of human capital in the production process. The author notes that, in a modern economy, the human factor determines the development and implementation of new technologies, in addition to the production process itself. Human capital determines the technology gap, the diffusion of know-how and the efficiency of its adaptation. As a result, investment in human capital is a fundamental factor behind development, the author concludes.

Keywords: know-how, human capital, growth theory, technology gap
Article: PDF

Katarzyna Nowicka - Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Sector

The article discusses the involvement of pharmaceutical companies in the development of new drugs and therapies.
The analysis shows that eight of the world’s 10 best-selling pharmaceuticals have originated in the United States, and two have been developed in Western Europe. Innovative brand-name drugs accounted for only 15 percent of the new pharmaceuticals registered in the United States in 1989-2000. All the other pharmaceuticals were generic drugs and modifications of pharmaceuticals already available on the market. Taxpayers and research institutes cover 85 percent of the costs of research into the development of new treatments.
The role of generic drugs is growing—chiefly because f their more affordable prices compared with those of patented drugs. Not only private consumers, but also public sector institutions obligated to provide health services to citizens, have appreciated the attractiveness of generic drugs. After Poland’s accession to the European Union on May 1, 2004, Polish pharmaceutical producers have gained new opportunities to increase their competitive position. However, Poland is still far behind highly industrialized countries in the level of expenditure on research into the development of new pharmaceuticals and therapies. This means that decision makers in Poland must work to upgrade the legal system and encourage businesses to focus on pharmaceutical research, the author concludes.

Keywords: innovation, pharmaceutical sector, research expenditure
Article: PDF

Witold Nowiński - Early Internationalization of Enterprises: A New Area of Research

The paper is concerned with the “early internationalization” of firms and shows the state of research into this issue in Poland.
The author reviews the body of research to date. The review covers leading Polish and international economic and business journals that have dealt with issues such as “born globals,” “international new ventures” and “early internationalization.” In all, the author reviews almost 30 scientific studies. Of these only one referred to a company that had ties to Poland.
On the basis of the review, the author discusses concepts applied in research into early internationalization, in particular definitions of enterprises that follow this strategy. Among the criteria for distinguishing various types of “early internationalizing firms,” geographical factors are seen as the most important. The author found that the tendency to undergo early internationalization and the effects of this process were related to the competitive strategies employed by firms.
The paper’s findings referring to early internationalization indicate that the process should also occur in the Polish economy. However, for the time being, there is no scientific evidence of early internationalization in Poland. International literature on the subject shows that further scientific research into early internationalization in Poland should primarily focus on the motives for early internationalization, the author concludes. Researchers should also turn the searchlight on the relationship between early internationalization, on the one hand, and industrial factors, business strategies and company resources, on the other.

Keywords: internationalization, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), entrepreneurship, international new ventures, born globals
Article: PDF

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