Taxonomic definitions in social science, with firms, markets and institutions as case studies
journal contributionposted on 2018-10-12, 15:02 authored by Geoff Hodgson
Definitions are crucial for institutional analysis. This article explains the nature of taxonomic definitions, with particular attention to their use in economics and other social sciences. Taxonomic definitions demarcate one species of entity from another. They are vital for the communication of meaning between scientists, who must share some basic conception of what types of entity they are investigating, to establish a division of labour over subsequent theoretical analysis and empirical investigation of the type of entity defined. Generally, taxonomic definitions build on past usage and are parsimonious: they are not meant to be explanations or descriptions. By contrast, overloaded taxonomic definitions can create square-one disagreement about what is being investigated. As illustrative examples, the paper considers different degrees of progress with attempts to define firms, markets and institutions.
- Loughborough University London
Published inJournal of Institutional Economics
CitationHODGSON, G.M., 2018. Taxonomic definitions in social science, with firms, markets and institutions as case studies. Journal of Institutional Economics, 15 (2), pp.207-233.
PublisherCambridge University Press © Millennium Economics Ltd
- VoR (Version of Record)
Publisher statementThis work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/
NotesThis is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.