Economics as an Imperialist Social Science

  • Peter J. Buckley
  • Mark Casson


Economic theorists are by nature system-builders. Successful system-building in the social sciences requires fearless simplification. Any theoretical system that corresponds too closely to complex social reality will be too complicated to be of any use. But simplification invites criticism, for there is always something of potential importance that gets left out of a theoretical system. The system-builders need their critics, both to remind them of their system’s limitations, and to suggest ideas for improvement. For system-builders are proud of their constructions, and tend to place too much confidence in them.


Utility Function Transaction Cost Preference Interdependence Specific Assumption Theoretical System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Axelrod, R (1984) The Evolution of Cooperation. New York: Basic Books. Becker, G. S. (1976) Economic Approach to Human Behavior. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Buchanan,J. M. (1965) ‘An economic theory of clubs’, Economica (new series), 32, 1-14.Google Scholar
  3. Buchanan, J. M. and Tullock, G. (1962) The Calculus of Consent. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  4. Casson, M. C. (1991) Economics of Business Culture. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  5. Coase, R H. (1937) ‘The nature of the firm’, Economica (new series), 4, 386- 405.Google Scholar
  6. Downs, A. (1957) Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  7. Jones, S. R G. (1984) The Economics of Conformism. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  8. Olson, M. (1965) The Logic of Collective Action. Cambridge, MA: Haxvaxd University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Tulloch, G. (1972) ‘Economic imperialism’, in J. M. Buchanan and R D.Google Scholar
  10. Tollision (eds), Theory of Public Choice: Political Applications of Economics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  11. Udehn, L. (1992) ‘The limits of economic imperialism’, in U. Himmelfaxb (ed.), Interfaces in Economic and Social Analysis. London, Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Buckley
  • Mark Casson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations