Status Quo of Economic Education in Germany: Cusanus University as a role model
The presentation is part of the 16th Annual STOREP Conference “The Social Rules! Norms, Interaction, Rationality” at the University of Sienna.
About the conference
Dissatisfaction with homo oeconomicus and a utilitarian view of rationality is pervasive in current economic theory, even that part of it that is more akin to mathematical modelling. As the assumption that aggregate behaviour can mirror that of the representative agent has proved to be flawed, economists are increasingly scrutinizing the identity of economic agents, with an emphasis on both the importance of social interaction in shaping it and the influence exerted by the groups individuals belong to. Social dynamics looms large over individual rationality: interpersonal interaction, cooperation and social norms have become central topics of multidisciplinary oriented research.
In truth, historians of economics and economic thought can legitimately consider this a required turn in economic theory. At least after Donald Winch’s work, they have forcefully argued that even the supposed intellectual godfather of economic liberalism, Adam Smith, did not endorse an unrestrained version of individualism, but rather explored the nature of individuals as part of a wider inquiry into the institutional and social contexts wherein they operate – institutionalists will later speak of an “institutionalized man”. Similarly, the recent crisis encouraged extraordinary attention to suggestions coming from Keynes scholars who had been denied attention before it. Theoretical frameworks for analysing the financial meltdown and policy proposals to counteract it now show some distinctly Keynesian trait, with the economics profession searching for clues that orthodox models, also owing to their neglect of the heterogeneity among individuals who act under uncertainty, could not effectively deliver.
The 2019 STOEP Annual Conference in Siena invites contributions exploring the difficulties economics has in dealing with the social dimension of the interactions among individuals and seeking routes to constructively address it. The conference is intended to discuss the complex pattern of interdependence between individuals and society, relying on contributions from a variety of perspectives: history of economics, economic history, a plurality of theoretical approaches and cooperation with other disciplines. How social norms emerge and become stable? Why an established norm may suddenly be abandoned? How is it possible that inefficient norms survive, and which are the incentives motivating people to obey norms?