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Theoretical isolation and explanatory progress: transaction cost economics and the dynamics of dispute


  • Uskali Mäki


Two related goals are pursued. First, the development of, and debates around Oliver Williamson's version of transaction cost economics are organised in terms of an emerging metatheoretical framework. It proposes looking at economic theorising and its changes in terms of rival theoretical isolations which are often responses to challenging explanatory questions. As a side product, Williamson's strategy of theorising is portrayed. Second, using transaction cost economics as an illustration and as a source of inspiration, the paper amends and refines the earlier framework of theoretical isolation by incorporating notions of explaining and explained items; notions of progress (in questions as well as increased causal penetration and increased degree of unification); and the notion of the dynamics of dispute. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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  • Uskali Mäki, 2004. "Theoretical isolation and explanatory progress: transaction cost economics and the dynamics of dispute," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 319-346, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:28:y:2004:i:3:p:319-346

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    Cited by:

    1. Gérard Charreaux, 2008. "La recherche en finance d’entreprise:quel positionnement méthodologique ?," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie,, vol. 11(Special), pages 237-290, June.
    2. Lukasz Hardt, 2011. "An inquiry into the explanatory virtues of transaction cost economics," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 5(1), pages 120-147, November.
    3. Whitley, Richard, 2016. "Varieties of scientific knowledge and their contributions to dealing with policy problems: A response to Richard Nelson’s “The sciences are different and the differences matter”," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1702-1707.
    4. Martti Vihanto, 2007. "Endogenous preferences, emotions, and the breaking of social capital into economics," Discussion Papers 18, Aboa Centre for Economics.

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