IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Restraining the Genuine Homo Economicus: Why the Economy Cannot be Divorced from its Governance

  • Stergios Skaperdas

The Homo economicus of traditional economics is far from being completely self-interested, rational, or as individualistic as he is purported to be; he will haggle to death over price but will not take what he wants by force. Implicitly, he is assumed to behave ruthlessly within a welldefined bubble of sainthood. Based on a simple model, I first examine what occurs when this assumption is relaxed and genuine, amoral Homo economici interact. Productivity can be inversely related to compensation; a longer shadow of the future can intensify conflict; and, more competition among providers of protection reduces welfare. The patently inefficient outcomes that follow call for restraining self-interest, for finding ways to govern markets. I then review some of the different ways of creating restraints, from the traditional social contract, to the hierarchical domination of kings and lords, to modern forms of governance. Checks and balances, wider representation, the bureaucratic form of organization, and other ingredients of modern governance can partly be thought of as providing restraints to the dark side of self-interest. Though highly imperfect, these restraints are better than the alternative, which typically involves autocratic, amateurish, and corrupt rule. Then, thinking of most problems in terms of a first-best economic model is practically and scientifically misguided.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2003/wp-cesifo-2003-04/cesifo_wp901.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 901.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_901
Contact details of provider: Postal: Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich
Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page: http://www.cesifo.de
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 1993. "The Revenge of Homo Economicus: Contested Exchange and the Revival of Political Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 83-102, Winter.
  2. Syropoulos, C. & Skeperdas, S., 1993. "Gangs as Primitive States," Papers 10-93-25, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  3. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 252, David K. Levine.
  4. Marcouiller, Douglas & Young, Leslie, 1995. "The Black Hole of Graft: The Predatory State and the Informal Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 630-46, June.
  5. Helmut Bester & Karl Warneryd, . "Conflict Resolution under Asymmetric Information," Papers 006, Departmental Working Papers.
  6. Abhinay Muthoo, 2000. "On the foundations of basic property rights, Part I: A model of the state-of-nature with two players," Economics Discussion Papers 512, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  7. Grossman, Herschel I. & Noh, Suk Jae, 1994. "Proprietary public finance and economic welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 187-204, February.
  8. James E. Anderson & Douglas Marcouiller, 1997. "Trade and Security,I: Anarchy," NBER Working Papers 6223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Lee, J. & Skaperdas, S., 1998. "Workshops or Barracks? Productive versus Enforcive Investment and Economic Performance," Papers 97-98-20, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  10. Warneryd, Karl, 1998. "Distributional conflict and jurisdictional organization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 435-450, September.
  11. Tirole, Jean, 1994. "The Internal Organization of Government," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
  12. Müller, Holger M. & Wärneryd, Karl, 1999. "Inside vs Outside Ownership - A Political Theory of the Firm," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 99-82, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  13. Paul Zak, . "Institutions, Property Rights, and Growth," Gruter Institute Working Papers on Law, Economics, and Evolutionary Biology 2-1-1009, Berkeley Electronic Press.
  14. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1995. "Anarchy and Its Breakdown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 26-52, February.
  15. Mehlum,H. & Moene,K. & Torvik,R., 2000. "Predator or prey? : parasitic enterprises in economic development," Memorandum 27/2000, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  16. Skaperdas, Stergios & Syropoulos, Constantinos, 1997. "The Distribution of Income in the Presence of Appropriative Activities," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 64(253), pages 101-17, February.
  17. Gregory D. Hess & Athanasios Orphanides, 2001. "War and Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 776-810, August.
  18. Johnson, Ronald N. & Libecap, Gary D., 1994. "The Federal Civil Service System and the Problem of Bureaucracy," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226401713.
  19. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Where Did All The Growth Go? External Shocks, Social Conflict, and Growth Collapses," NBER Working Papers 6350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Moselle, Boaz & Polak, Benjamin, 2001. "A Model of a Predatory State," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-33, April.
  21. Horowitz, Andrew W, 1993. "Time Paths of Land Reform: A Theoretical Model of Reform Dynamics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 1003-10, September.
  22. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did The West Extend The Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, And Growth In Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199, November.
  23. Ronald N. Johnson & Gary D. Libecap, 1994. "The Federal Civil Service System and The Problem of Bureaucracy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number john94-1, August.
  24. Skaperdas, Stergios, 1996. "Contest Success Functions," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 283-90, February.
  25. Stergios Skaperdas & Constantinos Syropoulos, 2001. "Guns, Butter, and Openness: On the Relationship between Security and Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 353-357, May.
  26. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521794497 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Avner Greif, 1997. "Self-enforcing Political System and Economic Growth: Late Medieval Genoa," Working Papers 97037, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  28. Usher, Dan, 1989. "The Dynastic Cycle and the Stationary State," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1031-44, December.
  29. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " A Survey of Corporate Governance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 737-83, June.
  30. Muller, Holger M & Warneryd, Karl, 2001. "Inside versus Outside Ownership: A Political Theory of the Firm," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 527-41, Autumn.
  31. Michelle R Garfinkel & Stergios Skaperdas, 2001. "Conflict Without Misperceptions or Incomplete Information: How the Future Matters," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000011, David K. Levine.
  32. Howitt, Peter & Wintrobe, Ronald, 1995. "The political economy of inaction," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 329-353, March.
  33. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521583299 is not listed on IDEAS
  34. Robert Bates & Avner Greif & Smita Singh, 2002. "Organizing Violence," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 46(5), pages 599-628, October.
  35. Martin C. McGuire & Mancur Olson Jr., 1996. "The Economics of Autocracy and Majority Rule: The Invisible Hand and the Use of Force," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 72-96, March.
  36. Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1996. " Predation and Accumulation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 333-50, September.
  37. Anderton, Charles H & Anderton, Roxane A & Carter, John R, 1999. "Economic Activity in the Shadow of Conflict," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 166-79, January.
  38. Grossman, Herschel I., 1995. "Robin hood and the redistribution of property income," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 399-410, September.
  39. Skaperdas, Stergios & Syropoulos, Constantinos, 1996. "Can the shadow of the future harm cooperation?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 355-372, May.
  40. Ronald Findlay, 1990. "THE NEW POLITICAL ECONOMY: ITS EXPLANATORY POWER FOR LDCs," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(2), pages 193-221, 07.
  41. Robert H. Bates & Avner Greif & Margaret Levi & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 1998. "Analytic Narratives," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 6355, April.
  42. Findlay, R., 1992. "Notes on Political Economy of Nationalism," Discussion Papers 1992_58, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_901. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Julio Saavedra)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.