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The theory of bounded reflexivity. A contribution to the debate between the Economics of Conventions and the Regulation Theory


  • Franck BESSIS



This article develops an action theory which explains the dynamics of rules. This theory emphasises two kinds of limitation. First, agents can only recognize the constructed dimension of rules under specific conditions. Second, agents question their beliefs without ever completely freeing themselves from these beliefs. This answer provides the framework to a general action theory potentially common to the Economics of Conventions and to the Regulation Theory. This theory deals with the orders of worth as well as balances of power. It reconciles rationally planned action with spontaneous adjustments as two moments of the same reversible process of rules' construction.

Suggested Citation

  • Franck BESSIS, 2008. "The theory of bounded reflexivity. A contribution to the debate between the Economics of Conventions and the Regulation Theory," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 54, pages 27-56, Jan - Jun.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2008:i:54:p:27-56

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Olivier Godard, 1990. "Environnement, modes de coordination et systèmes de légitimité : analyse de la catégorie de patrimoine naturel," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 41(2), pages 215-242.
    2. Claude Henry, 1984. "La microéconomie comme langage et enjeu de négociations," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 35(1), pages 177-198.
    3. Thierry Hommel & Olivier Godard, 2002. "Trajectoire de contestabilité sociale et production d'OGM à usage agricole," Économie rurale, Programme National Persée, vol. 270(1), pages 36-49.
    4. Driessen, Peter P. J. & Glasbergen, Pieter & Verdaas, Co, 2001. "Interactive policy-making - a model of management for public works," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 128(2), pages 322-337, January.
    5. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132-132.
    6. Jean-Charles Hourcade & Emeric Fortin, 2000. "Impact economique des politiques climatiques : des controverses aux enjeux de coordination," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 82, pages 45-74.
    7. Olivier Barreteau, 2003. "The Joint Use of Role-Playing Games and Models Regarding Negotiation Processes: Characterization of Associations," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 6(2), pages 1-3.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty


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