The Conflict about the Middle of the Road

Erik Moberg, Företagandets villkor, Friedrich Hayek, Medianväljarteoremet, Österrikisk nationalekonomi, Public Choice


This paper is about something which, at least superficially, looks like a conflict between public choice theory and Austrian social science, in particular as represented by Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. What I am referring to is the conflict between the so-called Median Voter Theorem, on the one hand, and the Austrian contention that there is no “middle way”, on the other. The Median Voter Theorem, as the reader knows, is often formulated within the framework of a left-right continuum, and it says that the decision taken will correspond to the position of the median voter. Thus, if the voters are distributed in a roughly symmetrical way along the left-right continuum, the decision will be a position somewhere close to the middle of the scale. The Austrians, on the contrary, claim that there is no such thing as a middle of the road outcome. Only socialism and liberalism are real alternatives.

Moberg, E. (2006). ”The Conflict about the Middle of the Road: The Austrians versus Public Choice.” I Kurrild-Klitgaard, P. (red.) The Dynamics of Intervention: Regulation and Redistribution in the Mixed Economy. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

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Open innovation has rendered increased interest both in practice and research, and has expanded from dyadic transfers of ideas, to ecosystem levels. Knowledge is at the heart of open innovation, and this paper describes and discusses knowledge-transfer linkages for open innovation. It does so based on a literature review. The paper links together open innovation research with general management research to categorise and discuss linkages among parties in terms of their openness and how they relate to knowledge management. Conclusions indicate that openness needs to be considered in different dimensions that also links to different knowledge management outcomes. The paper’s contribution consists of how it connects open innovation research to the general management literature, and how it builds a practical understanding of how linkages between firms can be categorised to aid firms to consider which mechanisms they may choose and why.

A revised perspective on innovation policy for renewal of mature economies – Historical evidence from finance and telecommunications in Sweden 1980–1990
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Eriksson, K., Ernkvist, M., Laurell, C., Moodysson, J., Nykvist, R. & Sandström, C.



What is the role of innovation policy for accomplishing renewal of mature industries in Western economies? Drawing upon an unusually rich dataset spanning 9752 digitized archival documents, we categorize and code decisions taken by policymakers on several levels while also mapping and quantifying the strategic activities of both entrant firms and incumbent monopolists over a decade. Our data concerns two empirical cases from Sweden during the time period 1980–1990: the financial sector and the telecommunications sector. In both industries, a combination of technological and institutional upheaval came into motion during this time period which in turn fueled the revitalization of the Swedish economy in the subsequent decades. Our findings show that Swedish policymakers in both cases consistently acted in order to promote the emergence of more competition and de novo entrant firms at the expense of established monopolies. The paper quantifies and documents this process while also highlighting several enabling conditions. In conclusion, the results indicate that successful innovation policy in mature economies is largely a matter of strategically dealing with resourceful vested interest groups, alignment of expectations, and removing resistance to industrial renewal.

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