Spring 2010 not offered
Neoclassical economic theory has relatively little to say about the problem of economic organization, how the economic activity of individuals is structured and governed by a complex network of social institutions that includes the law of property and liability, informal codes of morality and fair dealing, and formal organizations. This course attempts to address this imbalance by examining the origins and historical development of two of the most important of these institutions, firms and states. Why do firms and states exist? What functions do they perform in economic systems? How do they arise, and how do they change over time? In considering these questions, students will be introduced to several contemporary alternatives to neoclassical analysis, including the institutional, Austrian, public-choice, and constitutional approaches to the problem of economic organization. All of these traditions have both a rich history and an active research community, and readings will include both classic texts and modern scholarship in each of them.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ECON-MN)(ECON)
Classic works by John Locke, John R. Commons, Ronald Coase, Oliver Williamson, F.A. Hayek, Israel Kirzner, James Buchanan and Charles E. Lindblom, among others, and contemporary scholarship in the institutional, Austrian, public choice and contractarian economic traditions.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Assignments include several short reading reports, class presentations based on these reports, and a research paper. There are no examinations.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
This course provides students with an opportunity for independent research in the history of the various alternative traditions and their application to contemporary problems, and may be of special interest to students interested in pursuing a senior honors thesis in economics.
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