23 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2008
Date Written: January 2008
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: 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