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Ideas, narratives and economic change

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 11-04-2019
TERRA ECONOMICUS. 2019.  Т. 17. № 1. С. 24-40. 
Тематический раздел:
The paper deals with the critical analysis of the narrative and ideational “turns” in economic research. Based on the research findings of information science, social psychology, decision-making theory, cognitive science, anthropology, and other fields of research, the author shows that perspectives on “the power of ideas” and its impact for economic policy are greatly exaggerated. First and foremost, the scholars ignore the fact that only ideas that respond to the concerns of economic and political actors are accepted by them and transform into their beliefs. Further, to put belief into action, the actor must have the appropriate resource capacity including sufficient level of selfefficacy, as well as the internal locus of control. Finally, the actor must have appropriate incentives for action: his expected benefits ought to exceed the expected costs. For all these reasons, neither the spread of a new idea is synonymous with its acceptance, (transformation into belief), nor it is identical to the implementation of the ideas. Narratives represent the meaningful unit of content. Being similar to the structure of a decision-making situation, the narrative structure mirrors causal connections between actions and their effects. Human brain is evolutionary wired for narratives, so narrative communication has high persuasion capacity regardless of is content. This does not mean that narrative research in economy is not an important field. Narratives are part of economic culture; thus, narrative research could help reveal wrong decisions regarding economic policies.
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