The Social Construction of Theoretical Landscapes: Some Economics of Economic Theories
Richard E. Wagner
George Mason University - Department of Economics
July 19, 2012
GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 12-34
Economic theory emerges through interaction among interested participants, with the content of those theories being a product of spontaneous ordering and not scientific planning. At any moment, it is reasonable to expect various theoretical formulations to be in play, some typically receiving greater attention than others. As with spontaneous orders in general, the institutional arrangements within which theorizing occurs is influential though not determinative over the characteristics of theories. In this respect, a distinction is made between theories directed at understanding social processes as open and creative and theories directed at controlling what are treated as closed and deterministic processes. This distinction is illustrated with respect to theorizing about macro phenomena and public phenomena.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: spontaneous order, dyadic vs. triadic relationships, amateurs vs. professionals, theories as social constructions, economics of economics
JEL Classification: A14, D23, E10, H10working papers series
Date posted: July 19, 2012
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