Doctoral dissertation by John Wesley Löwen

The history of the German electricity industry in the postwar period

In view of the economic history of the German electricity industry is constantly finds continuities, which extends over the major political turning points of the 20 Century override. Elements such as specific patterns of thought or concepts of electricity, which were action-guiding for the players and determined the strategy of the company, had at least well established in the 1920s. The verbundwirtschaftliche organization of industry, regulatory framework and the mixed ownership structure formed out even in this time and should shape the image of the fishing industry in the coming decades.

This situation is true also and especially on the energy company RWE, which will be studied in a thesis project. Cognition research objective of this project, explaining the reasons for the persistence noted the example of RWE identify and examine their impact on the innovation ability of the company in the years after 1945.

There are a certain number of hypotheses which could have potential explanation for the persistence in the electricity industry. The first hypothesis follows from historic technology studies to draw attention to the close interaction between technology and social context. Technical systems exist to this reading of techniques, organizations, know-how and interests of the involved actors, which are aligned on a continuation of the system. This situation restricts not only the social decision latitude, but also creates its own dynamics or path dependence, which can persist for the technical system, despite its economic efficiency.

The second hypothesis is derived from the new institutional economics depends, the investigative focus on the persistence of the institutional framework of the electricity industry, the incentive structure affects the interests of operators and hence the innovation behavior. The New Institutional Economics can be the basic assumption that inefficient institutions persist and affect the performance of an economy. In this specific case, are emerging organizations and interest groups who profit from the arrangements inefficient from an economic perspective. The institutional economic perspective opens our eyes but also for effective institutional arrangements. Such a turn could be the institutional expression of the persistence in the electricity industry comparative institutional advantage, a positive impact in the history of individual energy companies on the innovation behavior and performance of the economy suffered.

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John Wesley Löwen