In his Mattioli Lectures, Nobel Laureate Professor Herbert A. Simon directs attention to the kinds of empirical research that are necessary for progress in microeconomics. He traces the development of neoclassical economic theory and its gradual retreat from empiricism to abstraction. He then discusses the importance of business firms to the economic system, and the need for a thoroughly empirical understanding of how organisations work and reach their decisions. Finally, he examines innovative approaches to empirical research, including experimental economics, observational methods for studying economic behaviour, and the kinds of simulation models that are needed to interpret decision process. A round-table discussion of these issues follows; the participants, in addition to Professor Simon, are Professors Claudio Dematte, Massimo Egidi, Richard M. Goodwin, Robert Marris, Aldo Montesano and Riccardo Viale.
• Herbert Simon is one of the most distinguished economists of the twentieth century, and is a Nobel Laureate • Herbert Simon has a track record of considerable sales success • This book is part of the prestigious and successful Raffale Mattioli lecture series
Preface; First lecture: rationality in decision making: 1.1. Development of the concept of rationality; 1.2. Contemporary choice theory; 1.3. The plurality of rationalities; 1.4. The history reviewed; 1.5. Empirical tests of theories; 1.6. References; 1.7. Debate of the first lecture Andrea Ichino, Luigi Pasinetti; Second lecture: the role of organisations in an economy: 2.1. Organisations and markets; 2.2. Altruism and organisational identification; 2.3. Organization, management and the economy; 2.4. Conclusion; 2.5. References; 2.6. Debate of the second lecture; Third lecture: empirical evidence for economics: 3.1. How much theory, and how concrete; 3.2. Implications of data for theory; 3.3.The sources of data on economic processes; 3.4. Seeking empirical data outside the business firm; 3.5. Decision making in the business firm: case studies; 3.6. Economic history; 3.7. Data from 'applied' economics; 3.8. Survey techniques; 3.9. Conclusion; 3.10. References; 3.11. Debate of the third lecture Fabio Arcangeli, Anna Grandori, Andrea Ichino, Daniele Terlizze; Comments: Claudio Dematte, Massimo Egidi, Robert Marris, Aldo Montesano, Riccardo Viale; Simon's reply; Herbert A. Simon's autobiographical sketch.