2013 Lepgold Winner: The Company States Keep

The 2013 Lepgold Prize was awarded to Professor Julia Gray (University of Pennsylvania) for her book, The Company States Keep (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

When states join international organizations (IOs) such as Mercosur or the European Union, how does it help or hinder their economic futures?  Gray argues that a big impact comes through the reputational effects of institutional membership, as the "company states keep" in an IO helps determine sovereign credit rating, and thus a state's ability to borrow on international markets and manage public debt.  In this innovative book, Gray sets out a new theory of how perceptions of credit worthiness or profligacy can permeate beyond one state's borders and impact other states, even independent of the functional demands or rules of a particular organization.  Mixing empirical methods, Gray provides a first rate systematic evaluation of the ways in which investor short-cuts for evaluating risk intersect with international institutions to shape the economic and political paths of states. A must read for students and policymakers interested in the impact of international institutions, The Company States Keep is a worthy 2013 Lepgold prize winner.

 

On November 3rd, the 2013 Lepgold Book Prize Recipient professor Julia Gray (University of Pennsylvania) discussed her book, The Company States Keep, at the Annual Lepgold Lecture at the Mortara Center. She was presented with the Lepgold medal, honoring the late Georgetown professor Joseph Lepgold. Lepgold Committee members, Georgetown faculty and students gathered for Gray's lecture and the following Q&A session.

 

 

 

 

 

The Lepgold Prize Committee also awarded an Honorable Mention to Dr. Jacob N. Shaprio of Princeton University for his book The Terrorist’s Dilemma: Managing Violent Court Organizations (Princeton University Press, 2013). 

Shapiro provides a historically informed explanation for why some groups have little hierarchy, while others resemble miniature firms, complete with line charts and written disciplinary codes. Looking at groups in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, he highlights how consistent and widespread the terrorist's dilemma--balancing the desire to maintain control with the need for secrecy--has been since the 1880s. Through an analysis of more than a hundred terrorist autobiographies he shows how prevalent bureaucracy has been, and he utilizes a cache of internal documents from al-Qa'ida in Iraq to outline why this deadly group used so much paperwork to handle its people. Tracing the strategic interaction between terrorist leaders and their operatives, Shapiro closes with a series of comparative case studies, indicating that the differences in how groups in the same conflict approach their dilemmas are consistent with an agency theory perspective.