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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Here you will find a comprehensive list of the Working Papers for the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR). The Institute for Social Science Research is a center for intellectual activity and basic research in the social sciences. We bring together faculty and students from a wide variety of disciplines, from the basic social science disciplines and the more applied programs in the professional schools alike. Our substantive focus is wide-ranging,including projects on the politics of race and ethnicity, poverty, immigration, public policy, social change, mass media, bureaucracy, ethnic identity in university life, and the political party system. Our particular strength lies in large-scale, interdisciplinary, quantitative research, but we welcome many smaller projects as well. A central component of this activity is the training of students to carry out such research, especially in the use of survey research and the secondary analysis of archived datasets.

Cover page of China's Rural Enterprises: Effects of Agriculture, Surplus Labor, and Human Capital

China's Rural Enterprises: Effects of Agriculture, Surplus Labor, and Human Capital


Rural industry is the most dynamic sector in China. I argue that rural industrialization is funded by agricultural accumulation, driven by surplus labor, and sustained by human capital. Rural reforms since 1978 have allowed Chinese peasants to retain a larger share of agricultural surplus to be transferred into rural industries. Rural surplus labor and shortage of farmland drive rural industrialization by the dynamic of extensive growth. Education is crucial for rural industrialization because market competition raises returns to human capital and industries need schooling more than does agriculture. 1991 data of 1,903 counties show that the top 10% of the counties produced over half of the total output by rural enterprises whereas the bottom 50% contributed little. Regression analyses confirm the above argument and find that education is the strongest predictor of rural industrial development.

Cover page of In Between Markets and Hierarchies - Networking Through the Life Cycle of New Biotechnology Firms

In Between Markets and Hierarchies - Networking Through the Life Cycle of New Biotechnology Firms


Resource dependence and transaction cost theories focus on organizations as mitigating their dependence on the task environment through various strategies. However, these theories have contradicting predictions as to the conditions under which network alliances are formed. New Biotechnology Firms (NBFs) provide an example of knowledge-organizations, operating under uncertainty and competitive environmental constraints, yet highly dependent on external resources. The event history analysis (EVA) of NBFs (N=554) shows that although avoidance of formation of alliances is associated with death, the formation of at least one inter-organizational alliance for each age year of the firm has an inverse U shape. The life cycle dependence argument is further supported when an analysis conducted on only self-standing NBFs shows a higher and longer dependency on external alliances. These findings suggest an integration of the two theories into a firm life cycle network theory within the domain of population ecology survival theories.

Cover page of Social Networks, Learning, and Flexibility: Sourcing Scientific Knowledge in New Biotechnology Firms

Social Networks, Learning, and Flexibility: Sourcing Scientific Knowledge in New Biotechnology Firms


This paper examines the organizational arrangements used by New Biotechnology Firms (NBFs) to source scientific knowledge. Using data from two highly successful NBFs, the paper shows that both firms relied principally on hierarchies and networks to source scientific knowledge; market arrangements were insignificant. Most interesting, each firm had a very large, diversified set of boundary-spanning collaborative research arrangements, mostly involving university scientists. It is argued that these external research networks enabled the two firms studied to compete more successfully in a highly turbulent and highly competitive industry environment.

Cover page of Institutional Analyses of Organizations: Legitimate but not Institutionalized

Institutional Analyses of Organizations: Legitimate but not Institutionalized


We review institutional theory to assess the direction of theory and research on institutional structures and processes. Our primary goal is to suggest an overall frame within which a coherent and interrelated body of theory and research might develop that would address institutional processes underlying stability and change of organizational structure. We select two theoretical threads, phenomenological and neo-functional approaches to organizations, and weave these in with rational choice to develop a coherent explanation of the conditions under which similar structures diffuse across organizations facing very different environments (or have very different structures when facing the same environment). We argue that resource dependence theory already provides a parsimonious explanation of why organizational structure becomes so similar across organizations facing similar environments; institutional theory has little to add to this scenario, except perhaps for a theory of organization-level ingratiation. Social does not imply non-rational, and socially-embedded does not mean unanalyzable. It is costly for each organization to de novo create its own structure, yet it also generally costly for an organization to adopt structure that is ill-suited to its main tasks and which may thus lower its performance. An efficient strategy for an organization, then, is to evaluate structures carefully by observing the effects of these structures in other organizations it deems similar, making an independent decision about whether or not to adopt those structures depending on assessment of the risk that adoption entails. There is a built-in bias toward stability of structure, since assessment is costly itself, leading to the often observed inertia of organizations. But at the same time, given renewal in the competition set, such a strategy may lead to organizational failure.

Cover page of Collaboration Structure and Information Dilemmas in Biotechnology: Organizational Boundaries as Trust Production

Collaboration Structure and Information Dilemmas in Biotechnology: Organizational Boundaries as Trust Production


Scientists who make breakthrough discoveries can receive above-normal returns to their intellectual capital, with returns depending on the degree of natural excludability, that is whether necessary techniques can be learned through written repons or instead require hands-on experience with the discovering scientists or those trained by them in their laboratory. Privatizing discoveries, then, only requires selecting trusted others as collaborators,most often scientists working in the same organization. Within organizational boundaries, incentives become aligned based on repeat and future exchange, coupled with third-party monitoring and enforcement.We find that high value intellectual capital paradoxically predicts both a larger number of collaborators and more of that network contained within the same organization. Specifically, same-organization collaboration pairs are more likely when the value of the intellectual capital is high: both are highly productive ‘star” scientists, both are located in top quality bioscience university departments, or both are located in a firm (higher ability to capture returns). Collaboration across organization boundaries, in contrast, is negatively related to the value of intellectual capital and positively related to the number of times the star scientist has moved, Organizational boundaries act as information envelopes: The more valuable the information produced, the more its dissemination is limited. In geographic areas where a higher proportion of coauthor pairs come from the same organization, diffusion to new collaborators is retarded.

Cover page of The Organization of Biotechnology Science and Its Commercialization in Japan

The Organization of Biotechnology Science and Its Commercialization in Japan


The biotechnology revolution is of particular interest both for the sociology of science and for industrial organization. Indeed, the closeness of progress in the basic science to applications in industry makes it impossible to understand the development of the industry without understanding the progress of the science and linkages between the two domains. In the U.S., Zucker, Darby, and Brewer (1994) demonstrates that where and when “star” scientists at the research frontier (and, in later years, their collaborators) were actively publishing were important determinants of where and when new biotechnology enterprises (NBEs) were founded.In ongoing work extending the analysis to Japan, it is seen that while the structure of science related to the new biotechnologies is broadly similar between the United States and Japan, the organization of the biotechnology industry in the two countries is quite dissimilar. In the U.S., at least 68 percent of NBEs were new biotechnology firms (NBFs) started for this purpose while 98 percent of Japanese biotech firms in our data base were subunits of existing firms. This paper reports the results of field work in Japan which was undertaken to develop understanding of the differences underlying these structural differences and to generate hypotheses for future empirical work on the development of the biotechndogy science and industry in Japan. The individuals interviewed included biotech scientists, industry executives, government officials, and officers of intermediating organizations.

Our respondents identified three major factors which interact to deter the formation of NBFs: (a) the closed nature of the Japanese system of higher education and non-competitive research funding, (b) incompleteness of the capital markets: aspecially the lack of a national venture capital industry capable of financing new firms and the related absence of initial public offerings prior to a firm’s achieving substantial profitability, and (c) cultural characteristics and incentive systems which discourage Japanese entrepreneurialism generally, and particularly impact scientists. An alternative hypothesis is that U.S. incumbent firms have been deterred from entry due to U.S. tort-liability exposures. It remains for future research to determine both the relative importance of these factors and whether the two systems of organization of the biotech industry are associated with substantial differences in productivity and international competitiveness.

Cover page of Inter-Institutional Spillover Effects in the Commercialization of Bioscience

Inter-Institutional Spillover Effects in the Commercialization of Bioscience


We examine the effects of university-based star scientists on three measures of performance for California biotechnology enterprises: the number of products in development, the number of products on the market, and changes in employment. The “star” concept which Zucker, Darby, and Brewer (1994) demonstrated was important for birth of US. biotechnology enterprises also predicts geographically localized knowledge spillovers at least for products in development. However, when we break down university stars into those who have collaborated on publications with scientists affiliated with the firm and all other university stars, there is a strong positive effect of the linked stars on all three firm-performance measures and little or no evidence of an effect from the other university stars.

We develop a new hypothesis of geographically localized effects of university research which is consistent with market exchange: Geographically localized effects occur for scientific discoveries characterized by natural excludability, those which can be learned only by working with discoverers or others who have received the knowledge through working together in the laboratory. Natural excludability results in intellectual capital, a transitory form of human capital, embodied in particular scientists whose services must be employed in order to practice the discovery. Contractual and/or ownership relationships occur between firms and the university scientists with intellectual capital and importantly determine firm productivity and growth.