Meta-Economic Principles

23 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2008  

Kim R. Sawyer

University of Melbourne - School of Historical and Philosophical Studies

Clive Beed

Retired from Melbourne University

Brian Ellis

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Howard Sankey

University of Melbourne - School of Historical and Philosophical Studies

Date Written: January 2008

Abstract

In this paper we consider meta-economic principles, those principles which underscore the theoretical thinking of economics. Meta-economic principles are different from laws; they relate to the principles of theory construction, to the assumptions which are implicit in theory, to the constraints imposed on theories and to the analysis and scope of theories. We identify seven meta-economic principles; self-interest, the structure of incentives, minimisation of transactions costs, rationality and time consistency, individuals as economic agents, the pricing of everything and completion of markets. These are the principles which have spanned generations of economic thinking. To illustrate the role of meta-principles in economic theory, we consider a number of articles from the Journal of Political Economy. The testability of meta-economic principles is examined, both in terms of the normative principles adopted in economic theory, and in observed economic behaviour.

Keywords: meta-theory, principles, testability

JEL Classification: A10, B41

Suggested Citation

Sawyer, Kim R. and Beed, Clive and Ellis, Brian and Sankey, Howard, Meta-Economic Principles (January 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1082595 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1082595

Kim Russell Sawyer (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - School of Historical and Philosophical Studies ( email )

Melbourne
Australia

Clive N. Beed

Retired from Melbourne University ( email )

Melbourne
Australia

Brian Ellis

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Howard Sankey

University of Melbourne - School of Historical and Philosophical Studies ( email )

Australia

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