Lionel Robbins’ first-step individualism and the prehistory of microfoundations
Thiago Dumont Oliveira and
Carlos Suprinyak ()
Additional contact information
Thiago Dumont Oliveira: N/A
No 537, Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG from Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Robbins belongs to the prehistory of microfoundations, for his definition of economics helped to buttress the centrality that individual choice acquired after the Second World War. This, however, was an unintended effect of his seminal Essay. Our claim is that, underlying his definition of economics, a novel approach to methodological individualism is advanced, in which the isolated individual plays the role of a temporary device. The economic man is but a first step in order to analyze more complex social phenomena. More specifically, three types of methodological individualism are outlined and it is argued that Robbins’ approach cannot be classified as any of them; we thus propose a different category, that of ‘first-step individualism’. Robbins’ rationale for focusing on the isolated individual is not that social phenomena can be reduced to individual behaviour, but rather that this is the best starting point for economics, if it is to progress and be able to deal with more complex phenomena in the future.
Keywords: Lionel Robbins; Methodological Individualism; First Step Individualism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B20 B31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 22 pages
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-hpe
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cdp:texdis:td537
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
Cedeplar-FACE-UFMG Av. Antonio Carlos, 6627 Belo Horizonte, MG 31270-901 Brazil
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG from Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Cedeplar-FACE-UFMG Av. Antonio Carlos, 6627 Belo Horizonte, MG 31270-901 Brazil. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Gustavo Britto ().