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Vers une autre science économique (et donc une autre institution de cette science)
[Toward another economic science (and thus toward another institution of this science)]

Author

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  • Yefimov, Vladimir

Abstract

Permanent readers of this journal have certainly noticed that the title of this article has a great similarity with the title of the issue No. 30 of the Revue du MAUSS. At first glance, the title of this issue “Toward another economic science (and thus toward another world)” may seem odd. Indeed, if the word "economic" is replaced in this title by the words "physical" ("chemical" or "biological"), we get a very strange statement: another type of physics (chemistry or biology) gives us another world in which we are supposed to live, that is to say, the physical properties of materials become different, chemical reactions occur differently, and biological properties of organisms are transformed. But if for natural sciences, this sentence does not make sense, it has a deep meaning for economics. The constructivist institutionalism gives us the key to understand this meaning. Following this institutionalism, economics provides society with the elements for the socio-economic-political discourse, and it is itself part of this discourse, which in turn significantly influence institutional change. This feature of economics creates a temptation for economists to go directly to the discourse (mainly what should be) without devoting enough attention to the study of reality (what is). The fact that economists do not resist this temptation has serious consequences: despite their good intentions, the proposed solutions elaborated without knowledge of the details of reality either do not give the expected results or often cause negative unexpected consequences. The 20th century gives plenty of evidence of this kind. According to social constructivism, "institutionalization occurs whenever there is a reciprocal typification of habitualized actions by types of actors. Put it differently, any such typification is an institution" [Berger and Luckmann, 1991, p. 72]. It is not enough to define institutions just as rules, but according to social constructivism, we consider them as rules when they become habits. The constructivist institutionalism sees the source of social regularities in these habits, and in this way it requires to study institutions as the foreground of the economy rather than its background. This type of study requires close ("ethnographic") observation made in the past by the German ethico-historical school (Gustav Schmoller) and the Wisconsin institutional school (John Commons). Heterodox economists (post-Keynesians, Marxists, regulationists, conventionalists, socio-economists) who see institutions as the background of the economy, practice remote observations and do not exercise the collection of detailed information about the rules and beliefs that support them contained in the discourses of actors. From this point of view, we can consider that the orthodox and most of the heterodox currents belong to the same paradigm that does not provide an understanding of economic reality and which does not make us capable to foresee the arrival of such phenomena as the current crisis and to explain their mechanisms. The few who have managed to do so did their research in the framework of another paradigm, that of constructivist institutionalism, perhaps without knowing it. The transition of the community of economists to this paradigm requires a radical institutional reform of the profession. The constructivist institutionalism also gives us some suggestions on how to run this reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Yefimov, Vladimir, 2010. "Vers une autre science économique (et donc une autre institution de cette science)
    [Toward another economic science (and thus toward another institution of this science)]
    ," MPRA Paper 49119, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:49119
    as

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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/49119/1/MPRA_paper_49119.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. N. G. Mankiw., 2009. "The Macroeconomist as Scientist and Engineer," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    2. Yefimov, Vladimir M., 1981. "Gaming-simulation of the functioning of economic systems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 187-200, June.
    3. Keith Tribe, 2002. "Historical Schools of Economics: German and English," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0211002, EconWPA.
    4. Douglass C. North, 2005. "Introduction to Understanding the Process of Economic Change," Introductory Chapters,in: Understanding the Process of Economic Change Princeton University Press.
    5. Grimmer-Solem, Erik, 2003. "The Rise of Historical Economics and Social Reform in Germany 1864-1894," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199260416.
    6. Donald MacKenzie, 2006. "An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262134608, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yefimov, Vladimir, 2012. "How Capitalism, University and Mathematics as Institutions Shaped Mainstream Economics," MPRA Paper 47920, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 07 Jul 2013.
    2. Vladiir Yefimov, 2015. "Two Disputes Of Methods, Three Constructivisms, And Three Liberalisms. Part I," Economy of region, Centre for Economic Security, Institute of Economics of Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, vol. 1(1), pages 29-38.
    3. Yefimov, Vladimir, 2011. "Дискурсивный Анализ В Экономике:Пересмотр Методологии И Истории Экономической Науки. Часть 1. Иная Методология Экономической Науки
      [Discourse analysis in economics: methodology and history of econo
      ," MPRA Paper 49157, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Yefimov, Vladumir, 2011. "Дискурсивный Анализ В Экономике: Пересмотр Методологии И Истории Экономической Науки. Часть 2 - Иная История И Современность
      [Discourse analysis in economics: methodology and history of economics r
      ," MPRA Paper 49069, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    constructivist institutionalism; socio-economic-political discourse; discourses of actors; Gustav Schmoller; John Commons; institution of economics; radical institutional reform of the economics profession;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • B5 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary

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