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1Martino Nieddu passed away on 11 June 2018. He had been a member of the editorial committee of the Revue de la régulation since it was created, and was thus one of its founders. Together with the 'Recherche et régulation' association we have paid homage to him in a text which is extended here. Martino continues to inspire both the questions inherent in our research and our approach to research. He was our colleague, a friend, a top-flight researcher whose quasi-poetic work touched the essence of social science. He was a model for us all and his passing brings us enormous grief.

2For the Revue de la régulation, he had his own particular way of reading the articles submitted to us, sometimes supporting a proposal whose originality he found stimulating, whilst nevertheless submitting it to detailed and rigorous criticism step by step, highlighting lines of thought left unexplored, argumentation left inconclusive and authors left uncited. For more than ten years Marino made an irreplaceable contribution to the intellectual life and the development of the Review.

3Martino had recently co-directed with Gilles Allaire and Pierre Labarthe the feature on “Agricultural regulation and forms of social mobilisation”, which traces twenty years of regulationist research on agriculture and its evolution. These articles propose a series of complementary insights into the new regulation to be found in the agriculture and food-processing sectors. They throw light on forms of social mobilisation which transform the sectorial and geographical nature of agricultural regulation. This approach illustrates both the importance of the domain of agriculture in regulationist research – particularly at the meso, rather than the macro level – and the importance of case studies, the methodological value of which Martino never fails to proclaim.

4He also wrote a certain number of critical reviews – an exercise which he considered to form an integral part of a researcher's activities – which give a good idea of his intellectual curiosity and caring attitude and of the way he was able to establish numerous parallels and weave a whole tissue of relations between the research and the themes. This was, for example, the case of his notes on the work of Florence Jany-Catrice on Total Performance, which gave him the occasion to accompany his presentation of the document with a commentary on the continuity between the author's work and both meso-economic analysis and the sectorial and territorial approaches to regulation to which he made an extensive contribution.

5He had written a long review (which was almost an article!) of Le temps des laboureurs1, a book by Mathieu Arnoux, whose very title evokes a fundamental interrogation: “Why should an economist, and moreover a regulationist working on the collective economic heritage, read Temps des laboureurs?” A detailed analysis of this contribution would demonstrate what sort of economist Martino was, always at pains to bring in additional concepts and ready to work with different disciplines, here economic history. Although economic history is one of the main currents of thought which gave rise to the Theory of Regulation, this stand-alone discipline has in fact been under-represented in regulationist publications in recent years. This contribution therefore includes a summary of Martino's method, with regard to his practice of abduction, which always evokes the the question of land (well-ploughed land, one is tempted to say). In this review, but also in the article he wrote jointly with Florence Gallois, “When the State dictates the market: the case of the Borloo Plan2, Martino develops the principles of the abductive method. It is not approached from a purely epistomological viewpoint but revealed through examples and practical applications. In the review of Le Temps des laboureurs he also indicates how the system of the burden of proof can be demonstrated. Furthermore, registers of evaluation appear in his work as a key element in meso regulation, just as they are in the concept of conventions. Before returning to the meso dimension of his activity over the years, let us underline the way in which he demonstrates, in his review of the book The Firm as an Entity, the usefulness of bringing enterpreneurial thought in contact with the work of the regulationists, whose objective is to “take performance registers out of the sphere of business and use them for new forms of sectorial and geographical regulation”3. Martino was indeed heavily involved in the work of the Régulation, Secteur et Territoire4 group in the 1990s, notably in together with Gilles Allaire, Catherine Laurent, Bernard Pecqueur, Christian du Tertre, Jean-Pierre Chanteau and others.

  • 5 “Long-term trends in productivist agriculture and mutations in the French agro-industrial system of (...)
  • 6 “configurations productives”.
  • 7 “Re-evaluation of the concept of inherited wealth”.

6Martino supplied an original and pertinent solution to the consideration of the agrarian question by the Theory of Regulation with his doctoral thesis (presented in 1997), “Dynamiques de longue période dans l’agriculture productiviste et mutations du système agro-industriel français contemporain”5. In it he underlined the heterogeneity of “configurations of production”6 (the coordination surrounding a product which constitutes the strategy adopted in competitive spaces) and the variety and the past performance of the strategic logic of those concerned. His contribution became even more relevant with his “Ré-évaluation du concept de patrimoine”7 (the title of his habilitation thesis). Together with Denis Barthélémy he was one of the first regulationists to make use of the conceptual framework of commons, notably the concept of “reasonable value”, in order to re-evaluate the distinction between a market and a non-market good. They introduced the notion of “relationship capital” and observed at the same time that in general “non-market goods” designates goods such as those produced by the conservation or the change of state of social domains (the state of fertility of the land, food safety, etc.). The effect of these goods, which produce collective “states”, is to “maintain” the market relationship. This meso-economic approach enjoys a central position in institutionalist political economics.

7As time passed, the meso-economic approach became the common thread in Marino's research. This position is in itself dependent on the way the collective wealth, which allows those concerned to close off the competitive spaces, is built up. During the preparation for the 2015 “Recherche et Régulation” colloquium, to which Marino made a major contribution, we decided to end the event by asking “Three questions about the theory of regulation from those who did not create it8. These questions gave rise to a short article published the following year under the same title in the “Opinons and Debates” section of this journal. In this contribution, which led in turn to three collective productions which already been or are in the course of being published, Marino turned his attention to the variety of regulatory spaces and to the processes of differentiating between them (a subject also to be found in a certain number of theses from Reims, two of which were presented in earlier issues of this journal: Florence Gallois “Une approche régulationniste des mutations de la configuration institutionnelle française des services à la personne9 in Autumn 2012 and Nicolas Béfort Pour une mésoéconomie de l’émergence d’une bioéconomie : représentations, patrimoines productifs collectifs et stratégies d’acteurs dans la régulation d’une chimie doublement verte in Autumn 2016”10).

8To prolong the contribution made by Martino to meso analysis, we can simply consult the summary of the present issue no 23. The article by Florence Gallois and Amandine Rauly develops his capacity to identify the institutional factors which generate meso spaces. In a different register, we can read the contribution by Samuel Klebaner and Guillaume Assogba, which develops, at the same meso level, not the method developed by Martino Nieddu but an entry via the field of activity, constituting a complementary approach. It would probably be useful for these two approaches to exchange ideas in greater depth.

9This month's issue is characterised by the diversity of its thematic material. Although theere is no common theme providing a logical link between the contributions, they all nevertheless contribute to the institutional study aspect of political economics. At the beginning of the summary, Laurent Cordonnier, Thomas Dallery, Vincent Duwicquet, Jordan Melmiès and Franck Van De Velde refer back to the important debate over the cost of capital. Their specific aim is to respond to criticism levelled at the indicator they intend to use to evaluate the “overcost” of financial capital. This contribution will provide material for discussion and should encourage future in-depth research on the subject.

10Two noteworthy contributions have been sent to us from Quebec, where there is a regulationist branch which has not previously contributed to this journal. With their publication this imbalance is at least partly corrected and the way is laid open to further, undoubtedly fruitful, exchanges. Emmanuelle Champion proposes an analysis of the process of institutionalising CSR in trade union organisations in Quebec, using as a starting point the conditions for setting up a coalition against sweatshop labour. Ela Callorda Fossati and Florence Degrave together with Benoît Lévesque report on an interesting discussion which begins on the subject of social innovation, a theme which has been extensively covered in Quebec, and moves on to the question of intellectual links to the theory of regulation.

11In the concluding Opinion and Debates section, Sophie Jallais reviews for us a number of standard economics texbooks. She shows how, despite their use of supposedly real examples, they fail to escape from the sphere of the imagination. This gives us an insight into the training us economists, which remains remote from the realities of production and applied economics.

  • 11 The Theory of General Equilibtium.
  • 12 The Theory of General Equilibtium.
  • 13 The Political Economy of Madagascar.
  • 14 Behavioural Economics called into question.

12Finally let us mention the reviews that make up the summary. One of them, which deals with the Transformations agricoles et agroalimentaires – entre écologie et capitalisme, coordoninated by Gilles Allaire and Benoît Daviron11, also refers back to areas of knowledge painstakingly explored by Martino: he was particularly concerned to find explanations for the potential trasformations of agriculture (bioeconomy, organic agriculture, short food supply chains, etc.). But this is only one of the many reviews in this issue. They discuss, often in great detail, works referring to subjects of importance and of great diversity – from La théorie de l’équilibre général12, to L’économie politique de Madagascar13, from Morality and Power - On Ethics, Economics and Public Policy to L’économie comportementale en question14 and also includes Money in a human economy. All these reviews bear witness to the vitality of a section to which Martino made a substantial contribution.

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1 The Age of the Ploughmen.

2 Quand l’État décrète le marché : le cas du Plan Borloo.

3 “faire sortir les registres de performance de la seule entreprise pour les articuler à de nouvelles régulations sectorielles et territoriales”.

4 Regulation, Sector and Geographical Area.

5 “Long-term trends in productivist agriculture and mutations in the French agro-industrial system of today”.

6 “configurations productives”.

7 “Re-evaluation of the concept of inherited wealth”.

8Trois questions à la théorie de la régulation par ceux qui ne l’ont pas fondée”.

9 “A regulationist approach to the mutations in the configuration of personal services in France”.

10 “Towards a meso-economic analysis of the emergence of a bioeconomy: representations, collective produtive wealth and stakeholder strategies in the regulation of a doubly green chemical sector”.

11 The Theory of General Equilibtium.

12 The Theory of General Equilibtium.

13 The Political Economy of Madagascar.

14 Behavioural Economics called into question.

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« Editorial », Revue de la régulation [En ligne], 23 | 1er semestre / Spring 2018, mis en ligne le 29 août 2018, consulté le 23 septembre 2018. URL :

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