How the Culture of Economics Stops Economists from Studying Group Behavior and the Development of Social Cultures
AbstractEconomic thought evolved over the past two centuries to focus on individual behavior as the basis for all economic activity. Some heterodox economists have pointed to the importance of group behavior and the influence of organizations on economic activity, but the neoclassical paradigm, with the rational isolated individual as its main actor, prevails in mainstream economics. This paper presents a â€œsociology of economicsâ€ to explain why the culture of the field of economics effectively blinds its practitioners to the phenomenon of group behavior. Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, the paper details the field's methodology (habitus), which includes the assumptions of the rational and separable individual, and the belief system (doxa), consisting of the metaphors of the invisible hand and rational free choice, that supports the habitus. The culture of economics is firmly held in place by symbolic violence directed at those who question the prevailing culture. The paper further highlights the role of business and financial interests in supporting the prevailing culture of economics. In conclusion, a strong group culture, supported by powerful business and financial organizations, discourages economists from recognizing this group culture or the powerful organizations that support it.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by World Economics Association in its journal World Economic Review.
Volume (Year): 2014 (2014)
Issue (Month): 3 (February)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
- Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
- Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
- Susan Himmelweit, 1995. "The Discovery of 'Unpaid Work': the social consequences of the expansion of 'work'," Open Discussion Papers in Economics 6, The Open University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
- Oliver E. Williamson, 2002. "The Theory of the Firm as Governance Structure: From Choice to Contract," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 171-195, Summer.
- Smith, Adam, 1776. "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1776.
- Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
- Folbre, Nancy, 1994. "Children as Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 86-90, May.
- Nancy Folbre, 2006. "Measuring Care: Gender, Empowerment, and the Care Economy," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 183-199.
- Douglass C. North, 2005.
"Introduction to Understanding the Process of Economic Change
[Understanding the Process of Economic Change]," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jake McMurchie).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.