The Problem With Bounded Rationality

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The Problem With Bounded Rationality

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Title: The Problem With Bounded Rationality
On Behavioral Assumptions in the Theory of the Firm
Author: Foss, Nicolai J.
Abstract: I discuss and compare alternative approaches to integrating bounded rationality with the theory of economic organization, concentrating on the organizational capabilities approach, which is strongly influenced by the works of Nelson and Winter, organizational economics, particularly transaction cost economics, and, finally, a small subset of the literature on biases to judgment and cognition. I argue that, contrary to the conventional view, both the organizational capabilities approach and transaction cost economics treat bounded rationality rather “thinly,” the former being in actuality more taken up with organizational routines than individual boundedly rational behavior, the latter only invoking bounded rationality to the extent that it helps explaining incompleteness of contracting. The rich literature on cognitive biases, etc. suggests a “thick” approach to bounded rationality that may be helpful with respect to furthering the theory of economic organization. Examples pertaining to the internal organization of firms are provided.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/7895
Date: 2009-08-20

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