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Formal Approaches to Socio-economic Analysis—Past and Perspectives

Claudius Gräbner ()

Forum for Social Economics, 2018, vol. 47, issue 1, 32-63

Abstract: This paper is motivated by the observation that (1) socio-economic analysis uses significantly less formalisms than mainstream economics and (2) that there exist numerous situations in which socio-economics could benefit from a more formal analysis. This is particularly the case when institutions play an important role in the system to be investigated. Starting with a broad conception of formalism, this paper introduces and discusses five different formal approaches regarding their adequateness for socio-economic analysis: The Social Fabric Matrix Approach, the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework, System Dynamics, (Evolutionary) Game Theory and Agent Based Computational Modelling. Every formalism entails implicit ontological and epistemological tendencies that have to be reflected on if the formalism should contribute to a better understanding of the system under investigation. The above-mentioned formalisms are no exception. Therefore, this paper pays particular attention to these tendencies. In the end, antagonisms and possible convergences among the formalisms are discussed.

Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1080/07360932.2015.1042491

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