The Intrepid Galambos

Tag: The Intrepid Galambos

Tirole wins Nobel; Galambos wins Nobel-Picking Contest

Jean Tirole is the sole winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Economics, for his work on industrial organization. He is certainly well-known among graduate students, as his industrial organization textbook was the industry standard for decades.  He is a favorite on Briggs 2nd for, among other things, his classic 1980s co-authored piece, “The Fat-Cat Effect,the Puppy-Dog Ploy, and the Lean and Hungry Look.”

Some of his more recent work is on platform markets, which is the subject of our ECON 495 course this term!   Here is Alex Tabarrok’s take:

Platform markets or two-sided markets are markets where a firm brings together two or more sides both of whom benefit by the existence of the platform and both of whom may (or may not) be charged. A trivial but telling example is the singles bar that brings together men and (usually) women. Other examples are the Xbox a platform for game players and game developers, credit cards bring together buyers and firms that accept that card, newspapers bring together readers and advertisers, mall brings together stores and customers.

A key difficulty in these markets is that the price charged to one side of the market influences the demand on the other side of the market… [T]he cost of the technology that goes into an X-box console is often more than or not much less than the price of the console. So Microsoft sells the console at near cost and instead makes it money by charging game developers for the right to write games for the Xbox.  Antitrust and regulation issues come into play here because the two sets of prices may look discriminatory or unfair. In a mall, for example, it’s often the largest firm (the anchor) that gets the lowest price (sometimes even zero!). Does this represent an unfair advantage that a large firm has over smaller rivals or is it a rational consequence of the fact that the anchor store may bring the most customers to the other, smaller stores in the mall so that the total package is welfare maximizing? Is Microsoft engaging in predatory pricing if it prices the Xbox at or below cost?…  Platform markets mean that pricing at marginal cost can no longer be considered optimal in every market and pricing above marginal cost can no longer be considered as an indication of monopoly power.

Professor Galambos picks up the department prize for his selection.

Advising at Lawrence

It is customary during Fall Reading Period for freshman and other new students to meet advisees.  But why?  What is the role of advising at Lawrence specifically and in the liberal arts more generally?

I give you Professor Galambos’ Guide to Advising posted and hosted on the Economics website (and endorsed by the economics department).

Last Spring Bradley W. Bateman addressed the topic directly in a TEDx talk right here at Lawrence.  Bateman is the President of Randolph College and formerly a Professor of Economics at Grinnell College, where he was my undergraduate advisor (!).

TEDx Lawrence

Professor Ádám Galambos spearheaded bringing a TEDx event to the Lawrence University campus this Friday, and I have been along for the ride.   The theme is Reimagining the Liberal Education, and we have some impressive people from around the country coming in to re-imagine things with us.  The university’s TEDx Lawrence site will contain the live web feed.  The Appleton Post Crescent posted a story Wednesday, and here’s what Ádám had to say:

Liberal education has a great deal to contribute to society. It’s up to us to figure out how we’re going to be a part of creating our future.

I hope this will result not just in intellectual exchange, although that’s really important, but also action, taking those new ideas to change in the world.

Professor Scott Corry will be featured on a Post-Crescent webcast tomorrow as well! (Link here)

Incoming Randolph College President, Bradley W. Bateman, will be on hand talk about the role of advising at liberal arts colleges.   This is a timely piece given that advising at large universities came under fire earlier this week.  Also, coincidentally enough, President Bateman was my undergraduate advisor once upon a time, though I don’t recall him ever suggesting that I should go to graduate school and become a professor (?).

One of the marquee speakers is Jeff Selingo of the Chronicle of Higher Education and author of the about-to-be-released College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What it Means for Students.  That talk is set for 9:35 a.m. Friday.  We are also very excited to have Andy Chan from Wake Forest coming in to talk about links between education and career development.  And, one of the co-founders of Coursera, Daphne Koller from Stanford, will join us via video feed to tell us about the MOOCs.


LU has a strong presence as well, with President Beck and Dean Pertl sharing their visions of the future. The tireless Bob Perille (’80), founder and champion of of the Lawrence Scholars programs, will be on hand to talk about (you guessed it) the Lawrence Scholars programs. Rick Davis (’90) from George Mason will invoke the role of the liberal arts in fomenting collaboration and Jennifer Herek (’90) will be on hand to talk about spreading the liberal arts to technical education in Europe.

In addition, Jenny Kehl from UW-Milwaukee will be on hand to talk about how central collaboration and interdisciplinary work will be to tackling some of our toughest environmental issues.

All TEDx events showcase videos from TED events, and as part of that we will be watching the Erik Brynjolfsson video that Professor Finkler discussed in a previous post.

The full schedule is here. 

It should be a good one.  Professor Brandenberger and I were co-organizers, and fortunately John handled some of the more delicate interpersonal matters.  We’re interested in seeing how this goes over.  If you have a few minutes, tune in to the webcast and let us know what you think.  Here is that link.  



“Hanging is too good for them”

Professor Galambos points us to The Chaney Tapes — a chronicle of legendary Professor William A. Chaney’s life and times here at Lawrence.  Of particular interest to this blog is the very high profile of Lawrence economists.  Here’s a taste of Professor M.M. Bober:

Some of Professor Chaney’s fondest memories are of his faculty colleagues in the 1950s and 1960s. M. M. Bober, professor of economics, is a particular favorite. His witticisms provide Chaney, himself the master of anecdotal enlightenment, with endless tales.

When discussing an art history professor’s latest attempts at painting, Professor Bober is reported to have said, “Hanging is too good for them”…

Bober’s sharp commentaries even warranted national attention when Time magazine published some of his more notable lines in a review of the retirement of several of academia’s greats in 1957: “If God were half as good to us as we are to Him, we’d be living in paradise,” “Businessmen have as much competition as they cannot get rid of,” and “When you leave this room I want you to feel that you have learned something. Don’t go out and just develop a personality.”

Hanging is too good for them.  I’m going to use that one.

This is Flickey

It looks like the In Pursuit of Innovation crowd is at it again, this time trotting out the revolutionary new Flickey app.  Check out the This is Lawrence video currently featured at the LU homepage for the transformative nature of some of these I&E projects.

And, if you happen to be the ambitious type, you might consider taking ECON 211 / PHYS 201 this fall — perhaps you will be next year’s feature from the thought to action crowd.

I&E in the News

For those of you without access to the many thousands of copies of The Lawrentian around campus, this week’s cover story features none other than the good work of the champions of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship program.

According to Professor John Brandenberger (and, no, his first name is not “Emeritus”) “There is no better time than the present… to teach liberal arts students who are developing the creative skills to be innovators over their four years at Lawrence, to be aggressive in their entrepreneurship.”

Well put.

President Beck also weighs in:

“In the arts, professors are interested in theater internships, print-making workshops and other ventures that enable students to connect their major to a business orientation. There are many examples of student interest so far, such as The Rabbit Gallery and Baroque Music and Dance Ensemble. [In addition], alumni are offering more and more internships to students, to help students put their thoughts into action, sometimes for the first time.”

The cover photo of The Lawrentian includes I&E stalwarts Professor Adam Galambos and Professor Gary Vaughn, along with a nice profile shot of budding entrepreneur, Ranga Wimalasuriya

Rabbit Gallery off and running Saturday

Well, not quite yet, but they have secured space in the Conkey’s building.

For those of you hiding under a rock, the idea of The Rabbit Gallery is to put art galleries in vacant shops, allowing artists to display their work and pay a lower commissions for display.  The intrepid entrepreneurship of Ranga and his brethren has secured the $700 to get the gallery out of its hole and into Conkey’s.

The special VIP launch date (for those only who contributed!) is May 14th (tomorrow) at 4:30…. See you there.

The launch date for the general public is Tuesday, May 17th.

Via the Faculty & Grants Newsletter

Brandenberger and Galambos strike again.  This via the Faculty & Grants Fellowships Newsletter:

This summer, the In Pursuit of Innovation course — co-taught by Professors John Brandenberger (Physics) and Adam Galambos (Economics) — received a two-year $23,000 grant from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance substantially to enhance the support for student projects and to fund guest speakers. Team projects play a central role in the course, and the NCIIA grant will allow students to dream bigger and to go further in pursuing their chosen innovations. It is expected that some teams will go beyond producing a prototype and will bring their idea close to being commercialized. The Innovation course, to be offered for the third time in Winter 2011, is one of the core courses of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship program, which is Lawrence University‘s model for integrating innovation and entrepreneurship into liberal arts education.

The program currently features three core courses that are to be complemented by additional topical courses dealing with environmental issues, politics, economic development, and other subjects that reflect interests of participating faculty. As a result of the program, several courses in economics as well as several courses in the arts will have newly added entrepreneurial components for the first time this year.

Invited experts also play critical roles in the program‘s core courses, including Innovation. These experts also help the program grow, expanding opportunities for students to engage in real-world entrepreneurship and innovation, through structured practical opportunities to take their course-based projects to commercialization, or internships in businesses or nonprofits that foster entrepreneurship or innovation. The NCIIA grant will help pay for travel expenses of several highly regarded experts who will contribute to the next offering of the Innovation course. The expectation is that students who take I&E courses will gain knowledge and cognitive skills that will equip them to be “change agents.” Combined with LU‘s emphasis on critical thought and information synthesis, the conceptual and practical knowledge gained through these courses will prepare students to undertake imaginative and ambitious innovative and entrepreneurial activities.

Schumptoberfest Readings: Galambos, Teece, and Blaug

Following up on Chapter VII of Capitalism, Socialism, & Democracy from last time, we move on to some rather more modern treatments of the economics of innovation.  We start with Professor Galambos’ and a slightly modified version of the primer he gives to his students in his excellent course, In Pursuit of Innovation (coming this winter).

Galambos wades through some basics of innovation policy and the industrial enlightenment before arriving at the question of allocative efficiency on pages 4 and 5. Again, the conventional treatment is that there is a tradeoff between the promise of monopoly profits and the efficiency properties of competitive industries.  And, recall, this is a tradeoff that Schumpeter explicitly rejects.

Continue reading Schumptoberfest Readings: Galambos, Teece, and Blaug

Penultimate TeaBA

It’s time to get ready for the penultimate Economics TeaBA of the 2009-2010 season. As per usual, the fun starts at 4:15 Monday in Briggs 217.

The Economics TeaBA came pretty much out of nowhere and has become a centerpiece of the economics co-curricular activities at Lawrence. Dozens of students have been treated to hot beverages, high-calorie snacks, along with both casual and serious discussions with the economics faculty and other esteemed attendees. In the past few weeks, we’ve enjoyed the company of EPA Administrators, mathematics professors, professors emeriti (is that the plural of emeritus?), and visiting economists /standup comedians.

So, we never really know what the Economics TeaBA will hold. All I can say is that this week’s will be the penultimate experience.

LSB Getting its Props

This week’s This is Lawrence video gives a big shout out to the Lawrence Scholars in Business program, spearheaded by the intrepid, semi-fearless and always venturesome, Professor Adam Galambos.

Here is the video!!!

Can you believe all the talent on display? I spotted trustee and LSB champion Bob Perille, LSB-Scholarship winner and I&E reading group member Katelin Richter, Tyler Vane, Suzie Kraemer, Colin Smith, Murtaza, Professors Galambos and Finkler, and many others. Make sure to send it to your parents and friends. And your friends’ parents. And your parents’ friends. It’s simply the best This is Lawrence video in memory.

Speaking of LSB, the Chicago trip is coming up. That should be educational and entertaining. Don’t miss it.

And, speaking of entertaining, the Entertainment Industry Summit is coming in May.

Could LSB rock any harder?

Lawrence I&E Continues its Ascension

Ripped from the headlines. A big congratulations to Prof. Galambos.  Here’s the story:

A $23,000 grant will support Lawrence University’s growing innovation and entrepreneurship program, a university-wide initiative launched in 2008 that engages students, faculty and alumni.

The two-year grant from the National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance will target the program’s flagship course “In Pursuit of Innovation.”  Cross-taught through Lawrence’s economics and physics departments, the course incorporates the use of guest experts from various fields, intertwines innovation with entrepreneurship and employs a project-driven, hands-on component designed to develop a learning community eager to pursue innovative and entrepreneurial ventures.

Since its launch, 41 students have taken the “Innovation” course.  Operating in three-person teams and in conjunction with the FabLab, a prototyping facility at Fox Valley Technical College, students have worked on projects ranging from the development of a multi-directional split-field camera and an ergonomic student desk to a hand sanitizing system for hospitals and schools and a personal identification system that allows health records to be retrieved automatically in the event of an accident.

“From its inception, our course has focused on diverse teams creating innovative products or processes, leading to functioning prototypes,” said Adam Galambos, assistant professor of economics and one of the program’s originators, along with John Brandenberger, professor emeritus of physics and Marty Finkler, professor of economics.  “This grant will enable us to take the Innovation course to a whole new level with student ‘E-teams,’ which will translate ideas into new products or services that benefit society.

“With its long-standing commitment to the liberal arts and sciences, Lawrence is the ideal setting for a program that inspires students and faculty to create innovative new ventures that combine ideas from diverse backgrounds, fields and perspectives,” Galambos added. Continue reading Lawrence I&E Continues its Ascension