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Metaphors of Transaction Cost Economics

Huascar Pessali ()

Review of Social Economy, 2009, vol. 67, issue 3, 313-328

Abstract: Metaphors are part of our daily lives as they help us understand the world. Economics, as with other areas of knowledge, cannot go without metaphors. Transaction Cost Economics (TCE)—a prominent theoretical framework on economic organisation—is no different: it has been built on a set of metaphors. This article gathers and discusses three of the key metaphors of TCE—transaction costs as frictions, human beings as “contractual men,” and economic selection between mechanisms of governance. How they fit together and help the construction of TCE are the issues at hand.

Keywords: transaction cost economics; metaphors; Oliver Williamson; theory of the firm; institutions; institutional economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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DOI: 10.1080/00346760801933393

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Handle: RePEc:taf:rsocec:v:67:y:2009:i:3:p:313-328