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The Use of Knowledge in Comparative Economics

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dc.contributor.author Martin, Adam G.
dc.creator Martin, Adam G.
dc.date 2009-04-14
dc.date.accessioned 2009-05-26T19:20:18Z
dc.date.available NO_RESTRICTION en
dc.date.available 2009-05-26T19:20:18Z
dc.date.issued 2009-05-26T19:20:18Z
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/1920/4519
dc.description.abstract The application of rational choice to non-market decision making has revolutionized comparative economics. A fruitful methodological symmetry now prevails in the analysis of economic systems, emphasizing how their underlying institutions affect individual incentives. Most importantly, comparative work now includes traditionally non-economic spheres, such as politics, legal systems, and culture. While this approach represents a huge step forward from the institutional vacuums of earlier models, it has inherited the faulty economic anthropology of the market socialists that created those vacuums in the first place. Failure to account for differences in knowledge-generating properties between institutions has created several blind spots in this new literature. These essays examine the implications of taking knowledge seriously in modern comparative economics. The first argues that a pure rational choice approach that endogenizes institutions leaves no theoretical space for inefficiency, and that Hayekian knowledge problems must be the root cause of unrealized gains from trade. The second makes the case that market institutions provide tighter epistemic feedback than do democratic political institutions. The result is that markets generate the gains from trade automatically, while politics is reliant on mental models to substitute for institutional feedback. The third essay explores the relationship of this Austrian approach to heterodox social ontology. It makes the case that Austrians, by holding rational choice and knowledge problems side by side, get the best of both the heterodox and mainstream approaches to understanding social reality.
dc.language.iso en_US en
dc.subject comparative economics en_US
dc.subject economic systems en_US
dc.subject economic methodology en_US
dc.subject Austrian economics en_US
dc.subject social ontology en_US
dc.subject public choice en_US
dc.title The Use of Knowledge in Comparative Economics en
dc.type Dissertation en
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy in Economics en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.discipline Economics en
thesis.degree.grantor George Mason University en


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