Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 62
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Teraji, Shinji 2016. Evolving Norms.

    Melrose, A. James Hsu, Eustace and Monterosso, John 2015. The Wiley Handbook on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Addiction.

    Wilder, Matt 2015. Ideas beyond paradigms: relative commensurability and the case of Canadian trade-industrial policy, 1975–95. Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 22, Issue. 7, p. 1004.

    Sassatelli, Roberta 2013. Culture of the Slow.

    Bowles, Samuel and Polanía-Reyes, Sandra 2012. Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: Substitutes or Complements?. Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 50, Issue. 2, p. 368.

    Pabst, Adrian and Scazzieri, Roberto 2012. The political economy of civil society. Constitutional Political Economy, Vol. 23, Issue. 4, p. 337.

    Siddiki, Saba Basurto, Xavier and Weible, Christopher M. 2012. Using the institutional grammar tool to understand regulatory compliance: The case of Colorado aquaculture. Regulation & Governance, Vol. 6, Issue. 2, p. 167.

    Astroulakis, Nikos 2011. The development ethics approach to international development. International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 10, Issue. 3, p. 214.

    Donaghy, Kieran P. 2011. Models of travel demand with endogenous preference change and heterogeneous agents. Journal of Geographical Systems, Vol. 13, Issue. 1, p. 17.

    Wallis, Joe and Kemp, Linzi 2011. The Learning Orientation of Primary Health Care Teams in the English National Health Service: Is This a Myth That Should Be Perpetuated?. International Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 34, Issue. 13, p. 869.

    Festré, Agnès 2010. INCENTIVES AND SOCIAL NORMS: A MOTIVATION-BASED ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF SOCIAL NORMS. Journal of Economic Surveys, Vol. 24, Issue. 3, p. 511.

    Roszkowska, Ewa and Burns, Tom R. 2010. Fuzzy Bargaining Games: Conditions of Agreement, Satisfaction, and Equilibrium. Group Decision and Negotiation, Vol. 19, Issue. 5, p. 421.

    Tsaoussi, Aspasia and Zervogianni, Eleni 2010. Judges as satisficers: a law and economics perspective on judicial liability. European Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 29, Issue. 3, p. 333.

    Lane, Jan-Erik and Wallis, Joseph 2009. Strategic management and public leadership. Public Management Review, Vol. 11, Issue. 1, p. 101.

    Rocha, Hector and Miles, Raymond 2009. A Model of Collaborative Entrepreneurship for a More Humanistic Management. Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 88, Issue. 3, p. 445.

    Wallis, Joe Dollery, Brian and Crase, Lin 2009. Political Economy and Organizational Leadership: A Hope-based Theory. Review of Political Economy, Vol. 21, Issue. 1, p. 123.

    Bowles, Samuel and Hwang, Sung-Ha 2008. Social preferences and public economics: Mechanism design when social preferences depend on incentives. Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 92, Issue. 8-9, p. 1811.

    Crespo, Ricardo F. 2008. Reciprocity and practical comparability. International Review of Economics, Vol. 55, Issue. 1-2, p. 13.

    Orlitzky, Marc and Swanson, Diane L. 2008. Toward Integrative Corporate Citizenship.

    Crespo, Ricardo F. 2007. ‘Practical comparability’ and ends in Economics. Journal of Economic Methodology, Vol. 14, Issue. 3, p. 371.


Against Parsimony: Three Easy Ways of Complicating some Categories of Economic Discourse

  • Albert O. Hirschman (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 December 2008

Economics as a science of human behavior has been grounded in a remarkably parsimonious postulate: that of the self-interested, isolated individual who chooses freely and rationally between alternative courses of action after computing their prospective costs and benefits. In recent decades, a group of economists has shown considerable industry and ingenuity in applying this way of interpreting the social world to a series of ostensibly noneconomic phenomena, from crime to the family, and from collective action to democracy. The “economic” or “rational-actor” approach has yielded some important insights, but its onward sweep has also revealed some of its intrinsic weaknesses. As a result, it has become possible to mount a critique which, ironically, can be carried all the way back to the heartland of the would-be conquering discipline. That the economic approach presents us with too simpleminded an account of even such fundamental economic processes as consumption and production is the basic thesis of the present paper.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Kenneth J. Arrow 1962. “The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing.” Review of Economic Studies 29:155173.

Kenneth J. Arrow 1978. “The Future and the Present in Economic Life.” Economic Inquiry 16:160.

Harry G. Frankfurt 1971. “Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.” Journal of Philosophy 68:520.

Fred Hirsch . 1976. Social Limits to Growth. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Harry G. Johnson 1965. “A Theoretical Model of Economic Nationalism in New and Developing States.” Political Science Quarterly 80:169–85.

Talcott Parsons . 1960. “Pattern Variables Revisited.” American Sociological Review 25:467483.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Economics & Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0266-2671
  • EISSN: 1474-0028
  • URL: /core/journals/economics-and-philosophy
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *