18 Captivating Oliver E. Williamson Quotes

Oliver E. Williamson is an American economist and professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Williamson is the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and specializes in transaction cost economics. Here is a look at some of the most influential Oliver E. Williamson quotes ever recorded.

“If you believe that markets operate in Alan Greenspan fashion, then you don’t inquire into the details.”

“InterĀ­nal organization is the concern of organization theory specialist. And never the twain shall meet.”

“Managerial discretion can take many forms, some very subtle. Individual managers may run slack operations; they may pursue subgoals that are at variance with corporate purposes; they can engage in self-dealing.”

“My initial thoughts of becoming a lawyer changed in high school as I became more attracted to math and science and began talking about being an engineer.”

“My university teacher and mentor Kenneth Arrow remembers me as a student who asked good questions.”

“Opportunism is self interest seeking with guile often involving subtle forms of deceit, especially calculated efforts to mislead, distort, disguise, obfuscate, or otherwise confuse.”


“Teaching can be learning, especially if student curiosity with the question ‘What’s going on here?’ can be elicited.”

“The field of ‘economics and organization’ is still young and needs support. I have been a chaired professor much of my academic life and know that such chairs are important for recruiting and retaining faculty.”

“The hypothesis that economic organization is the resultant of a series of historic accidents is intructive in that many organizational innovations appear to be the result of trial and error.”

“The lens of contract focuses predominantly on gains from trade whereas orthodoxy is focused on resource allocation.”

“The mission that each of them has is mainly economic but should be informed by good organizational practices.”

“The organization of the government itself is something which we ought to examine in a more self-conscious way – the Federal Reserve and the Treasury and the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

“The presumption that an extant mode is efficient if the expected net gain is negative can nevertheless be rebutted by showing that the obstacles to implementing an otherwise superior feasible alternative are ‘unfair.'”

“The remediableness criterion is an effort to deal symmetrically with real world institutions, both public and private, warts and all.”

“The study of economic organization commonly proceeds as though market and administrative modes of organization were disjunct. Market organiĀ­zation is the province of economists.”

“The transaction cost approach maintains that some projects are easy to finance by debt and ought to be financed by debt. These are projects for which physical-asset specificity is low to moderate.”

“This vastly complicates the problems of economic organisation. Plainly if it were not for opportunism all behaviour could be rule governed.”

“Vertical intergration is an organizational response to the contracting difficulties that attend intermediate product markets where trades that are supported by transaction-specific assets are exposed to hazard.”

Oliver Williamson appears at this UC Berkeley Press Conference in regards to him winning the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics.

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