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Towards a Connexionist Theory of the Firm. How Knowledge is Treated in Economic Analysis


  • Paulré, Bernard

    () (Modélisations Appliquées, Trajectoires Institutionnelles, Stratégies Socio-Économiques (MATISSE) (Applied Modeling, Institutional Trajectories, Socio-Economic Strategies) Centre d'Économie de la Sorbonne (Sorbonne Economic Centre) Université Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne) (University of Paris 1))


The present text analyses the different epistemic models that economists might use when launching forays into the field of information and knowledge. As is customary in cognitive sciences but not in economics, we will be contrasting the computationalist and connexionist paradigms. The former meshes well with the orthodox school of thought (and with the reduced form thereof, to wit, the Simonian neo-rationalist paradigm). Questions remain however as to the way in which the connexionist paradigm is manifested in the field of economics. The present text will show that an evolutionist theory of the firm à la Nelson and Winter constitutes a good illustration of the connexionist approach (whether or not this outcome had been desired or made explicit by these authors). We will argue in favour of a research programme that exploits the connexionist paradigm systematically to analyse companies.

Suggested Citation

  • Paulré, Bernard, 2005. "Towards a Connexionist Theory of the Firm. How Knowledge is Treated in Economic Analysis," European Journal of Economic and Social Systems, Lavoisier, vol. 18(1), pages 13-27.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:ejessy:0120

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    More about this item


    Evolutionary theory of the firm; Information; Knowledge; Computationalist paradigm; Connexionist paradigm;

    JEL classification:

    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General


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