Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Предмет и метод интерпретативной институциональной экономики

Yefimov, Vladimir (2007): Предмет и метод интерпретативной институциональной экономики. Published in: Voprosy Economiki No. 8 (August 2007): pp. 49-67.

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In this article, I renew the "dispute over methods" (Methodenstreit) taking into account contemporary achievements of the philosophy of science. The current dominant understanding of what is "scientific" in economics is derived from the classical natural science. Economists ignore the fact that at the end of the XIX century instead of this science appeared a non-classical science, and after the last third of the XX century a period of post-nonclassical science started. New Institutional Economics has been trapped in the classical paradigm by simulating not even contemporary natural science, but that existed more than a hundred years ago, which explored simple systems. Practically-oriented first institutionalists in Germany (the German Historical School headed by Gustav Schmoller) and in the USA (the American institutionalism represented by John Commons as its most important leader) dealt with complex socio-economic systems properly groped the interpretative approach appropriate for this kind of systems. This approach has recently received an increasing development, especially in relation to psychology, sociology and anthropology. I use these results for renovating the vision of the subject matter and the method of institutional economics. In this article, on the one hand, I propose to come back to the forgotten and maligned tradition of Schmoller and Commons, and on the other hand, I suggest restoring these traditions using the methodological and technical achievements of the interpretive paradigm in other social sciences. I dismiss the myth disseminated by Geoffrey Hodgson characterising the old American institutionalists in general as just data gatherers and John Commons in particular as a bad theoretician. I ascertain that Douglass North in his book Understanding the Process of Economic Change comes very close to the interpretive ontology, but does not make the appropriate epistemological conclusions. The latter supposes that any institutional analysis requires study of the texts of discourses of actors, and this study should not be oriented to confirm or to refute some a priori theoretical constructs, but to develop thick descriptions containing contextual and not universal concepts. These contextual concepts can be developed on the basis of Grounded Theory.

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