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Towards an historically relevant economics of the firm


  • Michael Dietrich

    (University of Sheffield [Sheffield])

  • Jackie Krafft

    (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - UNS - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis - UCA - Université Côte d'Azur - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


The basic sub-text or conjecture of this paper is that an adequate economics of the firm should be historically relevant. The terms “adequate” and “relevant” imply, in the current context, that theoretical frameworks allow explanation of historical developments rather than a rationalisation of these developments. Two possible implications follow from this conjecture. First, given the complexity of historical reality a single theoretical approach to the firm may be inadequate as a general framework to understand actual events. It follows, therefore, that a historically relevant economics of the firm may imply theoretical pluralism. The possible nature of this pluralism is explored in this paper. Secondly, and following on from the first point, if the importance of theoretical pluralism is accepted, different frameworks or approaches to the firm may be relevant in different historical circumstances. Among other things, pluralism might therefore imply a requirement for empirically driven theory. In our context empirically driven suggests that historical reality is an important motivator for the economics of the firm rather than being something that is interpreted as an end product.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Dietrich & Jackie Krafft, 2008. "Towards an historically relevant economics of the firm," Working Papers hal-00211196, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00211196
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Clarida, Richard & Gali, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1998. "Monetary policy rules in practice Some international evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1033-1067, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elsner, Wolfram & Hocker, Gero & Schwardt, Henning, 2009. "Simplistic vs. Complex Organization: Markets, Hierarchies, and Networks in an 'Organizational Triangle'," MPRA Paper 14315, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Elsner, Wolfram & Schwardt, Henning, 2015. "The (dis-)embedded firm: Complex structure and dynamics in inter-firm relations. Adding institutionalization as a Veblenian dimension to the Coase-Williamson approach – An emerging triangular organiza," MPRA Paper 67193, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Steven Toms & John Wilson, 2012. "Revisiting Chandler on the Theory of the Firm," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics and Theory of the Firm, chapter 22 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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