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Poets as consultants? Economic contract theory in German literature

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  • Urs Birchler

    ()

Abstract

In German literature, particularly in poetry, an amazing wealth of illustrations for economic contract theory can be found. Signaling, screening, incentive contracts, the winner's curse, and even the prisoner's dilemma within a team are treated by different writers. The respective examples are attractive for at least two reasons: First, for their clear representation of economic or game theoretic structures; and second, for their interdisciplinary nature, combining economics with law and psychology. Should we thus look at writers as consultants superior to economists? The answer is "no" in the sense that writers do not tell us how to behave in any particular situation, but "yes" in the sense that they remind us to be modest with respect to our strategic faculties; an advice not necessarily welcome to the economists' profession.

Suggested Citation

  • Urs Birchler, 2002. "Poets as consultants? Economic contract theory in German literature," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2002 2002-10, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2002:2002-10
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    File URL: http://ux-tauri.unisg.ch/RePEc/usg/dp2002/dp0210birchler_ganz.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rubinstein,Ariel, 2000. "Economics and Language," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521789905.
    2. Benny Moldovanu & Manfred Tietzel, 1998. "Goethe's Second-Price Auction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 854-859, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Contract Theory; Game Theory; Law and Economics; Economic Teaching;

    JEL classification:

    • A23 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Graduate
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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