Economics language and assumptions: How theories can become self-fulfilling
AbstractSocial science theories can become self-fulfilling because they shape institutional designs and management practices as well as social norms and expectations about behavior, thereby creating the behavior they predict. Social theories also perpetuate themselves to the extent that they promulgate language and assumptions that become widely used and accepted. Language and assumptions affect what people see and think about and what alternative organizational arrangements they consider implementing. We illustrate these ideas by considering how the language and assumptions of economics shape management practices. We argue that theories can "win" in the marketplace for ideas independently of their empirical validity to the extent that their assumptions and language become taken for granted, normatively valued, and therefore, create conditions that make the theories come "true."
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 InfoPaper provided by IESE Business School in its series IESE Research Papers with number D/530.
Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 03 Dec 2003
Date of revision:
language; self-fulfilling prophecy; social science; economic theories;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
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.:
- John McMillan, 2003.
"Market Design: The Policy Uses of Theory,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 139-144, May.
- Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "The Ultimatum Game," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 195-206, Fall.
- Noreen, Eric, 1988. "The economics of ethics: A new perspective on agency theory," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 359-369, June.
- Simonson, Itamar & Nye, Peter, 1992. "The effect of accountability on susceptibility to decision errors," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 416-446, April.
- Baron, James N & Hannan, Michael T, 1994. "The Impact of Economics on Contemporary Sociology," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1111-46, September.
- Rik Pieters & Hans Baumgartner, 2002. "Who Talks to Whom? Intra- and Interdisciplinary Communication of Economics Journals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 483-509, June.
- Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "A Psychological Perspective on Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 162-168, May.
- Bram Cadsby, Charles & Maynes, Elizabeth, 1998. "Choosing between a socially efficient and free-riding equilibrium: Nurses versus economics and business students," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 183-192, October.
- Robert H. Frank & Thomas Gilovich & Dennis T. Regan, 1993. "Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 159-171, Spring.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Silvia Jimenez).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.