Realism and comprehension in economics: A footnote to an exchange between Oliver E. Williamson and Herbert A. Simon
The correspondence between Herbert Simon and Oliver Williamson reveals a history of disagreement ultimately resolved by a reinstatement of mutual respect and agreement. On the surface, the disagreements concern questions about the appropriate trade-offs between realism and comprehension in economic theory, on the extent to which the theory should be based on realistic behavioral assumptions. At another level, however, the disagreements expose a different issue: Whether the sacrifices of realism involved in seeking comprehensible theory are to be experienced as unfortunate but necessary costs or as agonizing falls from grace that may be forgiven but only if accompanied with pain and contrition.
If 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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Wagner, Alfred, 1891.
"Marshall's Principles of Economics,"
History of Economic Thought Articles,
McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 5, pages 319-338.
- Williamson, Oliver E, 1988. "The Logic of Economic Organization," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 65-93, Spring.
- Herbert A. Simon, 1991. "Organizations and Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 25-44, Spring.
- March, James G., 1992. "The war is over and the victors have lost," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 261-267.
- Williamson, Oliver E., 1996. "Transaction cost economics and the Carnegie connection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 149-155, November.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:66:y:2008:i:1:p:95-105. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
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.