Lawson on Veblen on Social Ontology
This paper reviews three distinct strategies in recent economics for using the concept of social identity in the explanation of individual behavior: Akerlof and Kranton’s neoclassical approach, Sen’s commitment approach, and Kirman et al.’s complexity approach. The primary focus is the multiple selves problem and the difficulties associated with failing to explain social identity and personal identity together. The argument of the paper is that too narrow a scope for reflexivity in individual decisionmaking renders the problem intractable, but that enlarging this scope makes it possible to explain personal and social identity together in connection with an individual behavior termed comparative value-objective evaluation. The paper concludes with recommendations for treating the individual objective function as a production function.
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- Alan P. Kirman, 1992. "Whom or What Does the Representative Individual Represent?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 117-136, Spring.
- George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
- George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2002. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1167-1201, December.
- Alan Kirman, 2006.
"Demand Theory and General Equilibrium: From Explanation to Introspection, a Journey down the Wrong Road,"
History of Political Economy,
Duke University Press, vol. 38(5), pages 246-280, Supplemen.
- Alan Kirman, 2006. "Demand Theory and General Equilibrium: From Explanation to Introspection, a Journey down the Wrong Road," Economics Working Papers 0073, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.