Rationality, Behavior, Institutional and Economic Change in Schumpeter
In 1940 Schumpeter wrote a paper entitled: “The Meaning of Rationality in the Social Sciences”, which was intended to one of the meetings of a seminar including Talcott Parsons, Wassilly Léontief, Paul Sweezy and other Harvard scholars, that he took the initiative to start. In this paper Schumpeter develops thoroughly his own conception of rationality in economics. First, this paper is interesting in itself because it is based on a sophisticated methodological analysis. Schumpeter indeed interestingly anticipates some important debates concerning the problem of rationality and behavior in economics and presents arguments tha t make his ideas very topical. Second Schumpeter’s conception of rationality is linked to his methodological background (both individualistic and holistic), which is rooted in his economic sociology and explains the relationships he stresses between individual behavior and collective entities. In this contribution we present the arguments developed by Schumpeter in his 1940 paper and analyze the reason why his notion of rationality can be seen as a key component of his conception of economic and institutional change.
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