chapter  1
13 Pages

INTRODUCTION: Co-ordination and capabilities

In 1974 George B. Richardson, who had been a Reader at Oxford University and a Fellow of St John's College, became Chief Executive of Oxford University Press. In doing so he consciously abandoned his career in economics, because of an apparent lack of interest in his work by fellow economists and his own dissatisfaction with the trend of economic thinking. After managing Oxford University Press for fifteen years, he became Warden of Keble College, Oxford, and retired from that position in September 1994. In January 1995 two dozen economists met in St John's College for a colloquium which was designed not only to mark his formal retirement but also to welcome him back to economics. (The colloquium was organised by the editors, but Professor John Kay, then with the London Business School and Chairman of London Economics, and now Director of Oxford University Business School, offered to handle the practical arrangements with St John's College, for which the editors are extremely grateful.) The participants were representative of a growing number of economists who have developed an interest in, and appreciation of, Richardson's work, which has been marked by the publication of a second edition of his Information and Investment, incorporating reprints of two articles, a new Introduction and a foreword by David Teece. The chapters which follow constitute a selection from the papers presented at the colloquium, all of which received comments from Richardson himself, together with a paper from Denis O'Brien, who was not able to attend. In this Introduction, we wish to introduce these chapters and identify the themes in them which correspond to the themes in his work and are of contemporary relevance.