Don Lavoie Memorial Lectures: Narrative Research in Economics

Estefanía Campos  | 31 de mayo de 2018  | Vistas: 60

According to Emily Chamlee-Wright - who came to UFM as part of the yearly Don Lavoie memorial lectures, this outstanding economist left a lot of unconcluded projects came to give several lectures to UFM for the anual Don Lavoie Memorial Lectures- this famous economist left some projects unconcluded when he died. One of them was how to operationalize the Interpretive Turn.

She introduces the topic by explaining knowledge is fundamentally dispersed and that inarticulate knowledge is the one that actually drives economy. Economics is a science of meaning, and the standard methods of economics are borrowed from the mechanistic processes of the natural sciences, not the humanistic world of interpretive meaning.

Not only are we living in a world of imperfect information, we are living in a world of radical uncertainty.”

That’s why he proposed a solution: economics should learn and practice empirical methods of social sciences and history that have benefitted from the interpretive turn. Emily talks about the interpretative methods to study fenomena, which means to recognize the connection between purpose, plan formation, expectations, action, learning, plan revision and social coordination. The interpretive turn can be operationalized with qualitative methods.

Really what it comes down is talking to people. (...) If we want to understand how they are understanding their decision making framework, we need to have some kind of direct access”.

She explains the interpretive turn triangulation between the subject, the theory and the investigator, where all the components are at the same distance, and other cases where there’s excessive formalism, excessive “quantitativism”. She says, the closer the proximity between the investigator, the theory and subject promotes a circuit of iterative learning.

Finally Emily gives several examples of the operationalization of the interpretive turn and emphasizes on Lavoie’s underlying concern, that an interpretative culturally informed, Austrian understanding of markets was essential if we are to avoid tyranny.

The biggest takeaway Emily gives about Don’s work is “Don’t be boring”. Find out why!

Now watch: Don Lavoie Project: Austrian Economics and Hermeneutics


President, Institute for Humane Studies


Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.

Universidad Francisco Marroquín