Home>Julia Cagé awarded SIOE’s Oliver Williamson Best Conference Paper


Julia Cagé awarded SIOE’s Oliver Williamson Best Conference Paper

Founded and presided by three Nobel Memorial recipients (including Oliver Williamson), the Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics (SIOE) “studies institutions and organisations, largely but not entirely from the perspective of economics”, and meets annually - the Department had the honour of hosting SIOE’s 20th Annual Conference in 2016, under the direction of Sergeï GURIEV).

The 24th edition was hosted by MIT this year, proposing no less than 9 ‘virtual’ sessions in the time of Covid-19 and more than 250 papers! The Oliver Williamson Award is given to the best paper on the full conference program: a sub-group of four members of the Programme Committee shortlists five papers and the winner is chosen among the finalists by vote of the entire Programme Committee.

To what extent can heroes coordinate and legitimize otherwise strongly-proscribed and potentially repugnant political behavior?

This is the question that Julia CAGÉ, permanent faculty member, and co-authors Anna DAGORRET (Stanford), Pauline GROSJEAN (University of New South Wales), and Saumitra JHA (Stanford), set out to answer in the paper they presented at SIOE’s Annual Conference this year, entitled Heroes and Villains: The Effects of Combat Heroism on Autocratic Values and Nazi Collaboration in France.

At first glance the question may seem counterintuitive, as the paper underscores: “Almost by definition, heroes engage in pro-social acts, often those deemed patriotic in most societies, making it hard to distinguish heroic legitimization and endorsement of political activities with their inherent social desirability.Furthermore, it seems difficult to measure: “the emergence of heroes, the networks that they develop and the heroic acts that they perform are often hard to empirically distinguish from the specific contexts that call for their heroism. Further, heroic narratives are also often shaped after the fact by those with specific objectives, making the propagation of heroism itself often endogenous. »

Undeterred, Julia CAGÉ and her co-authors “exploit a natural experiment– the arbitrary rotation of front-line French regiments to service at the pivotal Battle of Verdun during the generalship of Pétain between February and April 1916– on subsequent active Nazi collaboration by individuals from the home municipalities of those regiments during 1940-1945.” Having identified the men who served under Pétain at Verdun, they were able to cross this population with a novel data set containing “unique individual data on more than 97,242 collaborators… from a secret 1945 French intelligence report that had… gone missing and…only recently declassified.

They were able then to show that “the Pétain-led Vichy regime (1940-44), municipalities that raised troops that served under Pétain at Verdun later housed more collaborators with the Nazis than otherwise similar municipalities.

The novelty of the question, the data-set, and its implication for future research, warranted Julia Cagé and her co-authors, SIOE’s 2020 Oliver Williamson Best Conference Paper Award, without a doubt.

Read Julia CAGÉ's paper Heroes and Villains: The Effects of Combat Heroism on Autocratic Values and Nazi Collaboration in France 

Julia Cagé
Julia CAGÉ is an Assistant Professor (tenure track) and Co-director of LIEPP's "Evaluation of Democracy" research group, created in order to reinforce evaluation practices in France used to report on democratic systems that condition implementation of public policies as advanced democracies all face significant political crises and a decline in democratic legitimacy. She is also a CEPR Research Affiliate.

Her research focuses on political economy, industrial organization and economic history. She is particularly interested in media economics, political participation and political attitudes. Her research has been published in a number of peer-reviewed international journals such as The Review of Economic Studies, the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, the American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, Explorations in Economic History, the Journal of International Economics, and the European Economic Review. She is already the author of several books accessible to the general public: "Saving the Media - Capitalism, Crowdfunding, and Democracy" (Le Seuil, 2015; Harvard University Press, 2016) and "L’information à tout prix" (joint with N. Hervé and M.-L. Viaud, INA Editions, 2017). Her third book « Le prix de la démocratie » was published in 2018 by Fayard (English edition, Harvard University Press, 2020) and won the “Prix Pétrarque de l’Essai” in 2019.

To learn more about Julia CAGÉ, consult her website

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