• Blair, Margaret. “Closing the Theory Gap: How the Economic Theory of Property Rights can Help Bring ‘Stakeholders’ Back into Theories of the Firm.” Journal of Management and Governance Vol.9, No.1 (1997) 33-40. DOI: 10.1007/s10997-005-1566-y


Mary Adams and Michael Oleksak. Intagible Capital: Putting Knowledge to Work in the 21-st  Century Organization. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010.

The shift to a knowledge economy has been underway for decades. It is estimated that 80 percent of the value of the average company today is intangible and depends on invisible assets like personal networks, company reputation, or capacity to innovate. Yet, when most managers go to work in the morning, they use tools optimized for industrial organizations and tangible assets, which represent just 20 percent of the value of their companies.

Kling, Arnold and Nick Schulz. From Poverty to Prosperity: Intangible Assets, Hidden Liabilities and the Lasting Triumph over Scarcity. New York: Encounter Books, 2009.

The discipline of economics is not what it used to be. Over the last few decades, economists have begun a revolutionary reorientation in how we look at the world, and this has major implications for politics, policy, and our everyday lives. For years, conventional economists told us an incomplete story that leaned on the comfortable precision of mathematical abstraction and ignored the complexity of the real world with all of its uncertainties, unknowns, and ongoing evolution.

What economists left out of the story were the positive forces of creativity, innovation, and advancing technology that propel economies forward. Economists did not describe the dynamic process that leads to new pharmaceuticals, cell phones, Web-based information services-forces that fundamentally alter how we live our daily lives.

Economists also left out the negative forces that can hold economies back: bad governance, counterproductive social practices, and patterns of taking wealth instead of creating it. They took for granted secure property rights, honest public servants, and the willingness of individuals to experiment and adapt to novelty.

From Poverty to Prosperity is not Tipping Point or Freakonomics. Those books offer a smorgasbord of fascinating findings in economics and sociology, but the findings are only loosely related. From Poverty to Prosperity on the other hand, tells a big picture story about the huge differences in the standard of living across time and across borders. It is a story that draws on research from the world’s most important economists and eschews the conventional wisdom for a new, more inclusive, vision of the world and how it works.

Smith, Laurajane and Natsuko Akagawa. (eds). Intangible Heritiage. New York: Routledge, 2009.

This volume examines the implications and consequences of the idea of ‘intangible heritage’ to current international academic and policy debates about the meaning and nature of cultural heritage and the management processes developed to protect it. It provides an accessible account of the different ways in which intangible cultural heritage has been defined and managed in both national and international contexts, and aims to facilitate international debate about the meaning, nature and value of not only intangible cultural heritage, but heritage more generally. Intangible Heritage fills a significant gap in the heritage literature available and represents a significant cross section of ideas and practices associated with intangible cultural heritage. The authors brought together for this volume represent some of the key academics and practitioners working in the area, and discuss research and practices from a range of countries, including: Zimbabwe, Morocco, South Africa, Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, USA, Brazil and Indonesia, and bring together a range of areas of expertise which include anthropology, law, heritage studies, archaeology, museum studies, folklore, architecture, Indigenous studies and history.

Appiah, Anthony and Martin Bunzl (eds.). Buying Freedom: the Ethics and Economics of Slave Redemption. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.

If “slavery” is defined broadly to include bonded child labor and forced prostitution, there are upward of 25 million slaves in the world today. Individuals and groups are freeing some slaves by buying them from their enslavers. But slave redemption is as controversial today as it was in pre-Civil War America. In Buying Freedom, Kwame Anthony Appiah and Martin Bunzl bring together economists, anthropologists, historians, and philosophers for the first comprehensive examination of the practical and ethical implications of slave redemption.

While recognizing the obvious virtue of the desire to buy the freedom of slaves, the contributors ask difficult and troubling questions: Does redeeming slaves actually increase the demand for–and so the number of–slaves? And what about cases where it is far from clear that redemption will improve the material condition, or increase the real freedom, of a slave? Buying Freedom includes essays by the editors and by Dean Karlan and Alan Krueger, Carol Ann Rogers and Kenneth Swinnerton, Arnab Basu and Nancy Chau, Stanley Engerman, Jonathan Conning and Michael Kevane, Jok Madut Jok, Ann McDougall, Lisa Cook, Margaret Kellow, John Stauffer, and Howard McGary.

McCrudden, Christopher. Bying Social Justice: Equality, Government Procurement, and Legal Change. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Also read reviews from Oxford online, SSRN,and Michigan Law Review.

Blanchi, Patrizio and Sandrine Labory. The Economic Importance of Intangible Assets. Burlington: Ashgate, 2004

This book is the result of a two-year interdisciplinary research programme named PRISM (Policy making, Reporting and measuring, Intangibles, Skills development and Management), financed by the European Commission and aimed both at understanding better how these assets are created and developed and what the policy implications of their growing importance in economies are. The book focuses on the policy issues raised by the increasing importance of intangible assets in a country’s growth and competitiveness. The main idea is that the value of intangible assets, which is imperfectly captured by current economic indicators and imperfectly formalized in economic theory, lies in their being the cumulative elements that keep the economy together – the glue of the system. This argument leads to the focus on networks and social capital as drivers of the development of intangible assets and is illustrated by the case of EU innovation and knowledge diffusion policy.

Erdmenger, Christoph. (Ed.) Buying into the Environment: Experiences, Opportunities and Potential for Eco-Procurement. Aizlewood: Greenleaf,2003.

Lev, Baruch. Intangibles: Management, Measurement, and Reporting. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institutions Press, 2001.

This book is the first comprehensive, scientifically based study of the nature and impact of intangibles. Weaving case studies and real-world examples with contemporary business theory, Baruch Lev establishes an economic framework to analyze managerial and investment issues concerning intangibles; * surveys the impact of intangibles on corporate performance and market values, including management difficulties, risk, questions of property rights, marketability, and cost structure; * analyzes information deficiencies associated with intangibles, including the major economic principles governing intangible investments, limits of management information systems, and recommendations for improved accounting disclosure; * sets forth a comprehensive information system-aimed at satisfying the needs of both internal and external decision makers-to reflect the impact and value of intangibles within the context of enterprise performance.

Blair, Margaret and Stephen Wallman. Unseen Wealth: Report of the Brookings Task Force on Intangibles. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2001

Intangibles are harder to measure, harder to quantify, often more difficult to manage, evaluate, and account for than tangible assets. There is no common language for sharing information about intangible sources of value, and the language used tends to be descriptive rather than quantitative and concrete.

Unseen Wealth stresses the importance of developing standards for identifying, measuring, and accounting for intangible assets, and recommends actions to government and business for improving the quality and quantity of available information about intangible investments. The book articulates a three-pronged set of reforms to help companies construct better business and reporting models, improve the quality of financial reporting, and clarify intellectual property right laws.

Unseen Wealth was developed by the Brookings Task Force on Intangibles, which includes business leaders, consultants, accounting professionals, economists, intellectual property lawyers, and policy analysts.


Northern Ireland

New York