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Order-Dependent Knowledge and the Economics of Science

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  • McQuade, Thomas J
  • Butos, William N

Abstract

Economists approaching the study of science typically assume the applicability of a market analogy, but then base their analysis on the presumption that science constitutes an area of pervasive market failure. Given the interactions that are actually observed to occur between scientists, we suspect that the failure is in the analogy, not in the putative market. In considering how one might better apply the economic way of thinking to the understanding of science as an activity, we suggest that it is necessary to specify exactly how scientific interaction differs from market interaction, and to be clear about how the behavior of interacting scientists might be modeled in terms of the general pursuit of self-interest in a noncatallactic context. Our model of science portrays an institutionalized mode of interaction between scientists involving the publication, use, and citation of scientific papers, and it is in the exploration of the individual incentives thrown up by this arrangement that the interesting empirical implications arise. We give a short exposition of the possible lines of investigation that could be followed based on this approach. Copyright 2003 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • McQuade, Thomas J & Butos, William N, 2003. "Order-Dependent Knowledge and the Economics of Science," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 16(2-3), pages 133-152, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:revaec:v:16:y:2003:i:2-3:p:133-52
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Garnett, 2009. "Hayek and liberal pedagogy," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 22(4), pages 315-331, December.
    2. Roger Koppl, 2011. "Against representative agent methodology," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 24(1), pages 43-55, March.
    3. Roger Koppl, 2005. "How to Improve Forensic Science," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 255-286, November.
    4. Giampaolo Garzarelli & Matthew Holian, 2014. "Parchment, guns, and the problem of governance," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 27(1), pages 71-80, March.
    5. Sabau, Gabriela L., 2010. "Know, live and let live: Towards a redefinition of the knowledge-based economy -- sustainable development nexus," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1193-1201, April.

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