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date: 28 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter comments on Oliver Williamson’s 1975 book, Markets and Hierarchies: Analysis and Antitrust Implications, a critical analysis of how firms operate in markets. Williamson describes a new way of understanding markets and hierarchies by using the term “New Institutional Economics” for the first time. This chapter examines Williamson’s approach and the impact of his book, first by discussing his arguments about markets and hierarchies in relation to what policy analysts sometimes call “the politics of ideas”. It then considers Williamson’s particular interest in antitrust policy as well as his thesis about transaction cost economics. Finally, it evaluates the implications of Williamson’s research for the long-term development of a politics of ideas about firms in markets.

Keywords: Oliver Williamson, Markets and Hierarchies, firms, markets, hierarchies, New Institutional Economics, politics of ideas, antitrust policy, transaction cost economics

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