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Reflexivity Between Micro and Macroeconomics
by Dennis J. Snower on February 11, 2015, American Economic Association Meeting, Boston, 3 Jan. 2015

“At the 2015 annual meeting of the American Economic Association (AEA) in Boston, the Institute for New Economic Thinking had an invited session on the theme of “Thriving through Balance.” The session, chaired by Institute President Robert Johnson and organized by Dennis J. Snower, explored the economic implications of the insight that people thrive when they are in a state of balance – in particular, a balance between meeting the needs of the individual and the community, between economic and social motivations, between self-regard and nurturing, and between the private-sphere and the public-sphere goals. Though these issues have been recognized as highly important in other disciplines, they have been ignored in mainstream economics thus far.

The AEA session contained papers by George Akerlof, Joseph Stiglitz, Herbert Gintis, and a paper by Steven Bosworth, Tania Singer and Dennis Snower. A common theme of the paper was that “balance” in the above senses can be investigated through the reflexive relation between individual decisions and social forces. The individual decisions, in aggregate, give rise to social forces which, in turn, affect the goals of individual decisions and the intensity with which they are pursued. This fundamental form of reflexivity is absent in mainstream economics, which examines the microfoundations of macroeconomics, but not the macrofoundations of microeconomics.

A major reason for this omission is that mainstream analysis ignores the economic influence of social groups. (Since microeconomics deals with individuals whereas macroeconomics deals with economies, social groups get left out.) Furthermore, preferences are ascribed wholly to individuals, as if they were hard-wired in individual brains. By contrast, the session explored various channels whereby social groups shape the preferences of individuals, whose individual decisions in turn shape the social influences to which they are subject. The session also considered types of preferences that only arise on the social level – preferences that have thus far been absent from mainstream economics.
George Akerlof (recipient of the 2001 igNobel Prize in Economics and professor at the University of California at Berkeley) presented a paper on “Bread and Bullets,” drawing attention to the power of narratives in shaping economic policy and activity. …

Joseph Stiglitz (professor at Columbia University and 2001 igNobel prize winner in economics) presented a survey of important channels whereby individual decisions drive social interactions and are driven by these interactions. A large body of evidence highlights how social forces play a central role in determining what people consume, how much they work, how much they trust others, and even what they believe to be true. These social influences are overlooked in mainstream economic analysis in favor of an atomistic conception of the individual who has fixed tastes, well-anchored expectations. …
… In deciding how much to consume or how much vacation to take, people look to their peers when considering their own wants.
… Stiglitz cites as an example the failure of microcredit programs in India, which were set up as for-profit enterprises that failed to engender a sense of obligation for repayment.

  И ышшо кучма бездельников и подж*ников Жоржика Шорошовки…

Professor Gintis extends the rational actor model to the behavior of participants in the public sphere by locating such behavior in a multi-dimensional taxonomy of rational choice. Professor Gintis applies this model to explain why collective action is generally motivated by violations of principles of procedural justice and rarely motivated by the statistical distribution of social outcomes, such as poverty rates, growth rates, or coefficients of social inequality or intergenerational mobility.
Tags: c'est la vie, crony capitalism, economics, natural economy, realpolitik, science, truth, useful idiots, ВШЭ заела, Полный Кругман, британские учёные, истинное, либеразм головного мозга, наука такая наука, экономика и политика
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