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A Very Reasonable Objective Still Beyond Our Reach: Economics as an Empirically Disciplined Social Science

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  • Giovanni Dosi

Abstract

The paper discusses some fundamental features of the 'Simonian' research program in microeconomics and compare them with two streams of thought which find their roots into Simon's pathbreaking work since the '50s and '60s, namely Transaction Cost Economics and Evolutionary Economics. One argues that the latter is in a particularly promising position to advance toward the kind of empirically disciplined microeconomics advocated by Herbert Simon. It does so also through painstaking attempts to operationalize the notion of 'bounded rationality' - in the broadest sense -, to make bridges with the microevidence from other social sciences - e.g. cognitive and social psychology, etc.-, and to "open up the organizational blackbox". And all that is undertaken outside the straightjacket of any religious committment to equilibrium analysis.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2002/03.

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Date of creation: 07 Dec 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2002/03

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Keywords: Herbert Simon; Evolutionary Economics; Transaction Cost Economics; Bounded Rationality; Organization.;

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  1. Nelson, Richard R. & Sampat, Bhaven N., 2001. "Making sense of institutions as a factor shaping economic performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 31-54, January.
  2. Oliver E. Williamson, 2000. "The New Institutional Economics: Taking Stock, Looking Ahead," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 595-613, September.
  3. Sydney Winter & Giovanni Dosi, 2000. "Interpreting Economic Change: Evolution, Structures and Games," LEM Papers Series 2000/08, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  4. David, Paul A., 1994. "Why are institutions the 'carriers of history'?: Path dependence and the evolution of conventions, organizations and institutions," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 205-220, December.
  5. Michael D. Cohen & Roger Burkhart & Giovanni Dosi & Massimo Egidi & Luigi Marengo & Massimo Warglien & Sidney Winter & with comments by Benjamin Coriat, 1995. "Routines and Other Recurring Action Patterns of Organizations: Contemporary Research Issues," Working Papers 95-11-101, Santa Fe Institute.
  6. Mie Augier & James March, 2001. "Conflict of Interest in Theories of Organization: Herbert A. Simon and Oliver E. Williamson," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 223-230, September.
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