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What We Research in Social Sciences: Is Homo Oeconomicus Dead?


  • Kaire Pıder

    () (Tallinn University of Technology)


Transition is not just transition of formal institutions, convergence of price levels and living standards. The closure or the gap in formal institutions is probably less time demanding than the closure of ideological or mental gap, created in many fields in academy or social life. Social sciences have been erased during half a century and post-soviets still struggle for academic prestige of these areas. We have seen many misunderstandings concerning the interrelations, hierarchy and even object of study in social sciences. Superiority of economics is sometimes created by market signals, or superiority of some other discipline by ìpolitical signalsî. Our aim is to show that in the body of social sciences economics is a normal science which can be defined by method, not by subject matter. We will introduce the alternative methodological approaches to rational choice and indicate their advantages and disadvantages. Mainly two questions are answered. First, is there some alternative methodology which has been more successful in producing efficient predictions and explanations of social affairs? Second, how methodological criticism has changed rational choice perspectives and can these changes be justified? Finally, changes in methodology of economics are discussed showing that there is no clear answer ñ how to parcel our social sciences?

Suggested Citation

  • Kaire Pıder, 2006. "What We Research in Social Sciences: Is Homo Oeconomicus Dead?," Working Papers 137, Tallinn School of Economics and Business Administration, Tallinn University of Technology.
  • Handle: RePEc:ttu:wpaper:137

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. North, Douglass C, 1994. "Economic Performance through Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 359-368, June.
    2. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
    3. Avner Greif, "undated". "Economic History and Game Theory: a Survey," Working Papers 97017, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    4. Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1449-1475, December.
    5. Robert H. Bates & Avner Greif & Margaret Levi & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 1998. "Analytic Narratives," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 6355.
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    More about this item


    rational choice; methodology in economics; structuralism;

    JEL classification:

    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology
    • B5 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches

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