25 Aug 2009

The Organization of Inquiry -- The Review

I read this 1966 book by Gordon Tullock to address the concerns of the referee's of a paper [PDF] that we were revising for a journal.

Tullock is brilliant, and his discussion of incentives, effort, quality and other important features in the academic ecosystem is not just interesting and diverting -- but full of insights for anyone in the social sciences. (He notes that economics is NOT a natural science but also that sociology is even less rigorous than economics.)

You can read the online version of the book here. Here is a more-critical review [pdf].

Bottom Line: I give this book four stars for its thoughtful and careful analysis of incentives and institutions in academe. (If we consider its publication date, it should get five stars!)

Addendum: Tullock also addresses the mix of "pure" and "applied" science; he finds a similarly blurry line. See Damian's post above.

1 comment:

Emily Green said...

Where's the poll for liking the whale picture?

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