Was Frank Knight an Institutionalist?
AbstractThis paper critically examines Geoffrey Hodgson's recent provocative claim about Frank Knight as being a member of American institutionalism in the interwar years. In the first section of the paper the authors attempt to provide a definition of institutionalism and to emphasize its meaning from a historiographic point of view. The second and third sections analyze the two main methodological struggles between Knight and the institutionalists, namely, the debate during the early 1020s over the use of instinct theory as an explanation of economic behavior, and the subsequent campaign led by Knight in the late 1920s and early 1930s against the behaviorist wing of American institutionalism à la Copeland and Ayres. The fourth section deals with Knight's own brand of institutionalism. Our main conclusions are that, even if Knight's approach to the study of economic behavior shows some significant affinities with American institutionalism, he was not – both sociologically and in terms of his philosophical premises - an institutionalist.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, University of Siena in its series Department of Economics University of Siena with number 461.
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
- B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian
- B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-10-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2005-10-22 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-HPE-2005-10-22 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-PKE-2005-10-22 (Post Keynesian Economics)
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.:
- Pier Francesco Asso & Luca Fiorito, 2004. "Lawrence Kelso Frank's Proto-Ayresian Dichotomy," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 36(3), pages 557-578, Fall.
- Knight, Frank H., 1922. "Ethics and the Economic Interpretation," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 36, pages 454-481, May.
- Rutherford, Malcolm, 2002. "Morris A. Copeland: A Case Study in the History of Institutional Economics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(03), pages 261-290, September.
- Asso, Pier Francesco & Fiorito, Luca, 2004. "Human Nature and Economic Institutions: Instinct Psychology, Behaviorism, and the Development of American Institutionalism," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(04), pages 445-477, December.
- Luca Fiorito, 2009. "The Institutionalists’ Reaction to Chamberlin’s 'Theory of Monopolistic Competition'," Department of Economics University of Siena 560, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
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