Svetozar Pejovich, RIP

We are late to the memorialization of Svetozar Pejovich, who passed away about a month ago.

Steve Pejovich was a lucid exponent of the property rights approach to economics. For a taste of his mastery, see his classic 1972 paper with Eirik Furubotn entitled “Property Rights and Economic Theory: A Survey of the Literature.” As of this writing, it has over 2,200 citations on Google Scholar.

Of particular interest to us here at CSOC is the emphasis of Pejovich and Furubotn’s 1972 paper on organizations in the real world. They discuss the problem of discretionary activity in firms with attenuated property rights, corporate governance, the behavior of companies under regulation, non-profit organizations, and socialist firms (a topic that Pejovich and Furubotn explore in greater depth here).

Like many in the property rights tradition, Steve’s work seemed to be driven by a voracious curiosity to understand the world around him. In this, he modeled the “student”–rather than the “savior”–approach to studying society. His curiosity seems to have been borne of his own experiences under socialism. To learn more, check out this fascinating interview he conducted for Econlib. My favorite part is when he expresses surprise that he was capable of getting a B- on an undergraduate macroeconomics exam (and perhaps a touch of annoyance that he did so well…) After all, like other good economists in this tradition, Pejovich understood and had internalized Alchian’s famous comment: “There is no such thing as macroeconomics.”

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