Reflexivity in Economics. An Experimental Examination on the Self-Referentiality of Economic Theories

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  • Pages : XII-206
  • Collection : Contributions to Economics
  • Nombre de volumes : 1
  • Support : Print
  • Format : 24 cm.
  • Langues : Anglais
  • Édition : Original
  • Ville : Heidelberg ; Dordrecht ; New York
  • ISBN : 978-3-7908-2091-1
  • Date de création : 04-01-2011
  • Dernière mise à jour : 08-11-2015



Consciousness can be identified as the main source of reflexivity for human thought and action. Individuals think and are simultaneously conscious of their thought, so that all discourses are both directed to outward reality. The polymorphism of self-reference will be illustrated by its implications for formal and natural language. Logical consistency of self-reference in its different forms and contexts of appearance will then be discussed, in that the relation between self-reference and paradoxes will be deepened and some guidelines for testing the legitimacy of self-references will be extrapolated. There are different degrees of semantical self-reference, depending on if the sentence refers exclusively to itself, or also to itself as a member of the whole class of reference. When reflection combines with universality creating a self-reference, paradoxes are most likely to appear. Institutions are at the same time a product of the social process and a constitutive part of the environment. – This study discusses the implications of the recursive or self-reflexive effects of economic theories on bounded rational behaviour and interaction. It focuses on the mechanisms through which bounded rational actors perceive the self-referential nature of economic theories and might absorb their prescriptions. As individuals think and are conscious of their thought, reflexivity is potentially involved in all human acts of cognition and in all conceptualizations. Further, the individuals can make use of social theories which can therefore yield recursive effects and interfere with the phenomena they aim to depict. Taking into consideration the bounded rationality of the individuals, this study investigates the modalities by means of which the recursive character of economic theorizing is perceived and the conditions under which economic theories affect behaviour, according to the results of two economic experiments focussing the absorbability of guessing-games' and informational cascades' theories. – Table of contents : – 1. Reflexivity and Self-Reference; – 2. Reflexivity of Social Reality; – 3. Reflexivity and Predictability of the Social Sciences; – 4. On the Rationality of the Economic Actors; – 5. Heuristics, Biases and Methods for Debiasing; – 6. Self-Referentiality of Economic Theories and Theory Absorption; – 7. On the Absorbability of Economic Theories – An Experimental Analysis. – Conclusion. M.-M. V.