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Title: Institutions, markets and gift : neoclassical, institutionalist and Austrian perspectives
Author: Negru, Ioana
ISNI:       0000 0001 3440 5995
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis illustrates the problems arising from the adoption of a solely economic perspective within mainstream studies of social structures and institutions. The failure of mainstream economics to grasp the social realm, and the dynamic, complex and interconnected changing nature of reality, has been the result of the pursuit of economic imperialism - and a reluctance amongst many economists to open themselves up to ideas drawn from outside the discipline of economics. Despite attempts within economics to extend the boundaries of the discipline both in terms of focus and methodology, the resulting application of market principles to social spheres has merely resulted in a form of economic imperialism based upon inadequate methods of inquiry for the exploration of the social. As an exemplification of the failure to analyse social phenomena and the complexity of human nature, the thesis explores the conceptualisation of institutions (in the form of markets and gifts) within mainstream economics. The thesis focuses upon the static equilibrium and exchange mechanism conception of markets, and criticises this perspective for its failure to account for the dynamic and temporal nature of economic systems. The configuration of markets and gifts within neoclassical economics is contrasted with the heterodox conceptions of these institutions emerging from the institutional and Austrian schools of economic thought. Stemming from the arguments concerning the need for a wider consideration of the nature of institutions, the thesis advances a case for a 'pluralistic' approach to the study of economics. We then examine the concepts of homogeneity and pluralism in the context of neoclassical, institutional and Austrian schools of thought. We argue that it is not always possible to separate debates over pluralism between schools, from controversy over pluralism within schools. The thesis lies within the field of economic philosophy, and seeks to integrate economic theory and economic methodology, as opposed to providing an empirical evaluation of institutions within specific economies. Through utilising a pluralistic perspective, the thesis makes an original contribution to the definition and framing of schools of thought within economics. The originality of the thesis also lies in the arguments presented for a 'pure' conception of gift in economic analyses - a position which has hitherto not been developed. The primary conclusions of the thesis are to claim that pluralism poses no threat to the coherency of economic schools of thought, and that it is important to develop (in line with the institutional and Austrian schools) a social ontology in the study of phenomena that encapsulate both social and economic properties.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available