McMillan, John 1951-
McMILLAN, John 1951-
PERSONAL: Born January 22, 1951, in Christchurch, New Zealand; son of John Alexander (a plumber) and Alice Isobella (a homemaker) McMillan; married Patrice Ann Lord (an editor), November 2, 2002. Education: University of Canterbury, B.Sc. (with first class honors), 1971, M.Com (with first-class honors), 1974; University of New South Wales, Ph.D., 1978.
CAREER: University of Canterbury, Canterbury, New Zealand, assistant lecturer in economics, 1974; University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, assistant professor, 1978-82, associate professor of economics, 1982-87; University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, professor of international relations and Pacific studies and adjunct professor of economics, 1987-99; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, professor of international management and economics, 1999—, Jonathan B. Lovelace chair, 2001—, senior fellow, Center for Research and Economic Development, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Visiting professor, University of Mannheim, 1980-81, and Netherlands Network of Economics, 1998; writer.
MEMBER: American Economic Association, New Zealand Association of Economists, Econometric Society.
AWARDS, HONORS: Harry Johnson Prize, Canadian Economics Association, 1988; Econometric Society fellowship; grants from National Science Council of Taiwan, National Science Foundation, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and Ontario Economic Council.
Game Theory in International Economics, Harwood (New York, NY), 1986.
(With R. Preston McAfee) Incentives in Government Contracting, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1988.
Commonwealth Constitutional Power over Health, Consumers' Health Forum of Australia, 1992.
Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets, Norton (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to anthologies, including Recent Developments in Game Theory, edited by J. Borland, J. Creedy, and J. Eichberger, Edward Elgar, 1992; Trade, Welfare, and Economic Policies: Essays in Honor of Murray C. Kemp, edited by Horst Herberg and Ngo Van Long, University of Michigan Press, 1992; and Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edited by Robert J. Aumann and Sergiu Hart, North-Holland, in press. Editor of monograph series "Microeconomic Studies," Springer-Verlag, 1985—. Contributor of articles to management, economic, and international studies journals. Editor, Journal of Economic Literature, 1999—; co-editor, Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 1996-97; associate editor, Economics and Politics and Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, both 1990—; member of board of editors, Canadian Journal of Economics, 1982-84, American Economic Review, 1991-95, Risk, Decision, and Policy, 1995—, Economics and Politics, 1990-99, and Contemporary Economic Policy, 2000—.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Research on game theory and on the reform of planned economies.
SIDELIGHTS: John McMillan's expertise in international economics has led to several volumes aimed at both the specialist and generalist reader. In 1997 he coedited Reforming Asian Socialism: The Growth of Market Institutions, a study of economic evolution in China, Vietnam, North Korea, and other Asian nations which underwent significant political and cultural changes in the latter part of the twentieth century. "China is by far the most important transition country in Asia and also one with the longest track record," noted Economic Record critic J. Malcolm Dowling. Reforming Asian Socialism compares the changing economic climate from the reign of communist Chairman Mao Tse-tung to the nation's transition into a market economy. Several sections in the work focus on post-Mao China, as the country adopted a more decentralized economy. "A prominent feature of the reform period is that local governments have been given responsibilities for regional development and welfare," commented Russell Smyth in Journal of Contemporary Asia. With municipalities setting the standard for economic growth, what developed were "strong incentives to set up enterprises for revenue-raising purposes," creating a "horizontal relationship between regions which fosters regional competition and imitation," explained the critic.
According to Dowling, "The basic thrust of the book is to analyze the economic transition within the spirit and framework of the new institutional economics. It goes beyond the big-bang versus gradualism policy debates to examine the development of [Asia's] market institutions." To Smyth, "The main strength of this book lies in its careful attention to detail." The Journal of Contemporary Asia critic pointed to discussions regarding which direction China's development should take. Reforming Asian Socialism also "makes excellent use of Chinese language sources," added Smyth.
In Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets, McMillan takes a wide-ranging look at how economic markets work, showing how "sophisticated computerized markets are just the high-tech version of the bazaar," as Booklist contributor Mary Whaley put it. It is the author's contention that not much has changed since the days of the street peddler; the best markets are always those that are well structured. Appraising Reinventing the Bazaar in the midst of the scandal-ridden breakdown of U.S. mega-corporations such as Enron and WorldCom during 2001-2002, Barry Gwen suggested in the New York Times Book Review that McMillan's work "is the perfect book for the Age of Enron" because it provides what Gwen called "a long-term perspective, an intellectual framework, for understanding what went wrong, how we should be thinking about correctives and what a properly functioning market economy should look like."
Markets are set up in any conceivable condition where people gather. As McMillan relates in Reinventing the Bazaar, even under dire conditions, such as prison camps and refugee centers, food exchanges and general stores spring up. "So far, so familiar," said Gwen. "But McMillan has another shoe to drop. Markets may arise spontaneously as 'the most potent antipoverty engine there is,' yet as they develop, becoming more complex; they need rules and structures to perform properly." Interaction by government must also be considered; "Why, for instance, did Silicon Valley become the center of the computer industry and not Route 128 in Massachusetts?" asked Gwen. The answer, according to McMillan: Massachusetts has an intellectual-property law that forbids employees from taking knowledge gained at one company and bringing it to another. California has no such prohibition, and during high-tech's boom days when "job-hopping was rampant," although individual companies suffered when their secrets were shared with competitors, "the industry as a whole prospered" due to the anti-restrictive climate offered in Silicon Valley.
A Publishers Weekly contributor found some fault with Reinventing the Bazaar, citing a tone that is "by turns condescending and frustratingly abstruse." However, a Kirkus Reviews writer had fewer reservations, maintaining that "McMillan's prose resembles single malt, going down easy as it stimulates." According to Richard Drezen of Library Journal, "Readers looking for a basic primer" on market economy "will find no better treatment" than in Reinventing the Bazaar.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 2002, Mary Whaley, review of Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets, p. 1368.
Economic Journal, January, 1994, review of Games, Strategies, and Managers, p. 203; January, 1998, review of Reforming Asian Socialism: The Growth of Market Institutions, p. 276.
Economic Record, September, 1997, J. Malcolm Dowling, review of Reforming Asian Socialism, p. 296.
Institutional Investor International, April, 2002, Deepak Gopinath, "They Can't Go It Alone," p. 92.
Journal of Contemporary Asia, August, 1998, Russell Smyth, review of Reforming Asian Socialism, p. 402.
Journal of Economic Literature, June, 1993, review of Games, Strategies, and Managers, p. 890; March, 1997, review of Reforming Asian Socialism, p. 291.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2002, review of Reinventing the Bazaar, p. 387.
Library Journal, April 15, 2002, Richard Drezen, review of Reinventing the Bazaar, p. 102.
Publishers Weekly, April 8, 2002, review of Reinventing the Bazaar, p. 218.