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Introduction to Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics

In: Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics


  • Donald MacKenzie

    (University of Edinburgh)

  • Fabian Muniesa

    (École des Mines de Paris, Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation)

  • Lucia Siu

    (University of Edinburgh)


Around the globe, economists affect markets by saying what markets are doing, what they should do, and what they will do. Increasingly, experimental economists are even designing real-world markets. But, despite these facts, economists are still largely thought of as scientists who merely observe markets from the outside, like astronomers look at the stars. Do Economists Make Markets? boldly challenges this view. It is the first book dedicated to the controversial question of whether economics is performative--of whether, in some cases, economics actually produces the phenomena it analyzes. The book's case studies--including financial derivatives markets, telecommunications-frequency auctions, and individual transferable quotas in fisheries--give substance to the notion of the performativity of economics in an accessible, nontechnical way. Some chapters defend the notion; others attack it vigorously. The book ends with an extended chapter in which Michel Callon, the idea's main formulator, reflects upon the debate and asks what it means to say economics is performative. The book's insights and strong claims about the ways economics is entangled with the markets it studies should interest--and provoke--economic sociologists, economists, and other social scientists. In addition to the editors and Callon, the contributors include Marie-France Garcia-Parpet, Francesco Guala, Emmanuel Didier, Philip Mirowski, Edward Nik-Khah, Petter Holm, Vincent-Antonin Lépinay, and Timothy Mitchell.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald MacKenzie & Fabian Muniesa & Lucia Siu, 2007. "Introduction to Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics," Introductory Chapters,in: Donald MacKenzie & Fabian Muniesa & Lucia Siu (ed.), Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics Princeton University Press.
  • Handle: RePEc:pup:chapts:8442-1

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    Cited by:

    1. Sven Modell, 2014. "The societal relevance of management accounting: An introduction to the special issue," Accounting and Business Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(2), pages 83-103, April.
    2. Susse Georg & Kjell Tryggestad, 2009. "On the emergence of roles in construction: the qualculative role of project management," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(10), pages 969-981.
    3. repec:bla:ecanth:v:4:y:2017:i:1:p:132-143 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Morgane Le Breton & Franck Aggeri, 2016. "Studying performation: the arrangement of speech, calculation and writing acts within dispositifs," Post-Print halshs-01290800, HAL.
    5. Mélodie Cartel & Eva Boxenbaum & Franck Aggeri & Jean-Yves Caneill, 2017. "Policy making as collective bricolage: the role of the electricity sector in the making of the European carbon market," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-01615460, HAL.
    6. François-Xavier De Vaujany & Sabine Carton & Carine Dominguez-Perry & Emmanuelle Vaast, 2012. "Performativity and Information Technologies: An inter-organizational perspective," Post-Print halshs-00851315, HAL.
    7. Andriani, Pierpaolo & Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten, 2011. "Performing comparative advantage: The case of the global coffee business," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 167, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    8. Alexandre Rambaud & Jacques Richard, 2015. "Towards a finance that CARES," Post-Print halshs-01260075, HAL.
    9. Alaric Bourgoin & Fabian Muniesa, 2012. "Making a consultancy slideshow 'rock solid': a study of pragmatic efficacy," Post-Print halshs-00702224, HAL.
    10. Banzhaf, H. Spencer, 2016. "Constructing markets: environmental economics and the contingent valuation controversy," MPRA Paper 78814, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. repec:taf:cnpexx:v:21:y:2016:i:3:p:257-273 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Hans Kjellberg, 2010. "Struggling to perform a warehouse: buildings as symbols and tools," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(6), pages 675-694.
    13. Marion Varlet & Florence Allard-Poesi, 2015. "Les Conditions de Performativité du Discours Stratégique Analyses et apports d'Austin, Searle, Butler et Callon," Post-Print hal-01490627, HAL.
    14. Valeria Siniscalchi, 2012. "Towards an Economic Anthropology of Europe," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, Second Edition, chapter 33 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Sarah Bracking, 2012. "How do Investors Value Environmental Harm/Care? Private Equity Funds, Development Finance Institutions and the Partial Financialization of Nature-based Industries," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 43(1), pages 271-293, January.
    16. Francesco GUALA, 2015. "Performativity Rationalized," Departmental Working Papers 2015-07, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    17. Alvial-Palavicino, Carla & Ureta, Sebastián, 2017. "Economizing justice: Turning equity claims into lower energy tariffs in Chile," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 642-647.
    18. Campbell-Verduyn Malcolm, 2016. "Merely TINCering around: the shifting private authority of technology, information and news corporations," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 18(2), pages 143-170, August.
    19. Roberts, John & Jones, Megan, 2009. "Accounting for self interest in the credit crisis," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(6-7), pages 856-867, August.
    20. repec:kap:jbuset:v:143:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10551-017-3549-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Yahya Madra & Fikret Adaman, 2013. "Neoliberal reason and its forms:Depoliticization through economization," Working Papers 2013/07, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
    22. Kenneth Iain MacDonald & Catherine Corson, 2012. "‘TEEB Begins Now’: A Virtual Moment in the Production of Natural Capital," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 43(1), pages 159-184, January.
    23. Hervé Dumez, 2018. "Henri Fayol. Performativity of his ideas and oblivion of their creator," Working Papers hal-01676825, HAL.

    More about this item


    markets; performativity; financial derivatives; telecommunications auctions; transferable quotas;

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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