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The Evolving Rationality of Rational Expectations
An Assessment of Thomas Sargent's Achievements

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Part of Historical Perspectives on Modern Economics

  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521027717

$ 67.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Inspired by recent developments in science studies, Professor Sent offers an innovative type of analysis of the recent history of rational expectations economics. In the course of exploring the multiple dimensions of rational expectations analysis, she focuses on the work of Thomas Sargent, an instrumental pioneer in the development of this school of thought. The treatment aims to illuminate some of the shifting negotiations and alliances that characterize the rise and shift of direction in rational expectations economics.

    • Analyses the changing ideas of Thomas Sargent, a major modern economic theorist and pioneer of rational expectations analysis
    • Offers a wider perspective on Sargent's work than is otherwise available through discussions of philosophy, science studies, physics, engineering and artificial intelligence
    • Employs an original and authoritative approach, inspired by science studies
    Read more


    • The Evolving Rationality of Rational Expectations won the 1998 Gunnar Myrdal Prize of the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy for the best monograph on a theme broadly in accord with the EAEPE Theoretical Perspectives

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Esther-Mirjam Sent's book, in which she provides an account of the development of rational expectations theory from the perspective of Thomas Sargent's contributions, is a splendid contribution to the history of economic thought quite unlike other works in the field." The History of Political Economy

    "Esther-Mirjam Sent presents a case study of the development of Thomas Sargent's macroeconomic program from its earliest days - pre-rational expectations - to its more recent forays into bounded rationality and artificial intelligence. There is no similarly detailed and complete study of any major figure in the new classical economics. Professor Sent clearly knows a great deal about her subject and is able to convey a great deal to the reader." Kevin D. Hoover, University of California, Davis

    "Sent's book is like no other work in the history of economic thought. The subject matter is contemporary macroeconomic theory, and the dominant themes are symmetry, reflexivity, and the interest-ladenness of scientific theory. It is a fascinating story: provocative as well as compelling." D. Wade Hands, University of Puget Sound

    "...a historical study of Thomas Sargent's research and his different interpretations and justifications of rational expectations, describing how they were shaped by his conceptual, experimental, and sociotechnical practices." Journal of Economic Literature

    "Anyone interested in rational expectations and the new classical macroeconomics must read Sent's book on Thomas Sargent...It is also required for those wanting to see science studies and the history of economics done in new ways." The Eastern Economic Association

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521027717
    • length: 256 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.388kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Accommodating randomness
    3. Accommodating prediction
    4. Accommodating symmetry
    5. Accommodating learning
    6. An interview with Thomas Sargent
    7. Conclusion

  • Author

    Esther-Mirjam Sent, University of Notre Dame, Indiana


    • The Evolving Rationality of Rational Expectations won the 1998 Gunnar Myrdal Prize of the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy for the best monograph on a theme broadly in accord with the EAEPE Theoretical Perspectives

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