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Lawson on Veblen on Social Ontology

Author

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  • Davis, John B.

    () (Department of Economics Marquette University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Davis, John B., 2005. "Lawson on Veblen on Social Ontology," Working Papers and Research 2015-03, Marquette University, Center for Global and Economic Studies and Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrq:wpaper:0508
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    File URL: http://papers.tinbergen.nl/05078.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Smith, 2012. "Reputation, Social Identity and Social Conflict," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 14(4), pages 677-709, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary

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