Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Typical Mirowski?

"Concerning the [Induced Value Theory], it should be noted that in principle reward structures can be employed so as to generate any preference profiles, and (thus) any demand configurations. Given this potential generality of the IVT, it is interesting that [Vernon] Smith never considered any preference profiles other than quasi-linear and homothetic preferences - namely no preference profiles other than those bringing about 'nice' demand curves, of which the line integral in commodity space is path independent and consumer's surplus is indeed a legitimate measure of welfare change - in his (published) attempt to put the [Hayek Hypothesis] to the test. -- Kyu Sang Lee and Philip Mirowski (2008) "The Energy behind Vernon Smith's Experimental Economics", Cambridge Journal of Economics, 32, pp. 257-271."
We see above allusions to advanced theory. I find it difficult to locate mainstream economists discussing this theory. Who else writes about line integrals in commodity space? And Mirowski and his co-authors' presentation of the theory casts established portions of mainstream economics - in this case, experimental market economics - in a new light. And this new light suggests that mainstream economists misrepresent their supposed achievements. Neoclassical demand theory was not tested in its full generality in Smith's work.

I find no allusions to Nietzsche or postmodern sociologists of science in this paper. Maybe I missed something, or maybe Kyu Sang Lee has less interest in Nietzsche that Mirowski does.

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