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Introducing Formalism in Economics: The Growth Model of John von Neumann

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  • Sandye Gloria-Palermo

    () (CEMAFI Research Department, University of Nice-Sophia-Antipolis, France)

Abstract

The objective is to interpret John von Neumann's growth model as a decisive step of the forthcoming formalist revolution of the 1950s in economics. This model gave rise to an impressive variety of comments about its classical or neoclassical underpinnings. We go beyond this traditional criterion and interpret rather this model as the manifestation of von Neumann's involvement in the formalist programme of mathematician David Hilbert. We discuss the impact of Kurt Gödel’s discoveries on this programme. We show that the growth model reflects the pragmatic turn of the formalist programme after Gödel and proposes the extension of modern axiomatisation to economics..

Suggested Citation

  • Sandye Gloria-Palermo, 2010. "Introducing Formalism in Economics: The Growth Model of John von Neumann," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 57(2), pages 153-172, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:voj:journl:v:57:y:2010:i:2:p:153-172
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    File URL: http://www.panoeconomicus.rs/casopis/2010_2/02.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Philippe Mongin, 2003. "L'axiomatisation et les théories économiques," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 54(1), pages 99-138.
    2. Robert J. Leonard, 1995. "From Parlor Games to Social Science: Von Neumann, Morgenstern, and the Creation of Game Theory, 1928-1994," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 730-761, June.
    3. Nicola Giocoli, 2001. "Fixing the point: the contribution of early game theory to the tool-box of modern economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(1), pages 1-39.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marchionatti, Roberto & Mornati, Fiorenzo, 2014. "Economic Theories in Competition. A New Narrative of the Debate on General Economic Equilibrium Theory in the 1930s," CESMEP Working Papers 201404, University of Turin.
    2. repec:voj:journl:v:63:y:2016:i:5:p:503-523 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Arthur Brackmann Netto, 2017. "The Double Edge of Case-Studies: A Frame-Based Definition of Economic Models," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2017_21, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    4. Sandye Gloria-Palermo, 2013. "Equilibrium versus Process: A Confrontation between Mainstream and Austrian Ontology," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-39, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    5. Sandye Gloria-Palermo, 2013. "In Search of the Right Tool: From Formalism to Constructivist Modelling," GREDEG Working Papers 2013-33, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Von Neumann; Growth model; Formalist revolution; Mathematical formalism; Axiomatics;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B23 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Econometrics; Quantitative and Mathematical Studies
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C02 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Mathematical Economics

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