Université de Strasbourg

Economic crisis, or economics in crisis?




by Alan Kirman
Université Aix-Marseille, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, (EHESS)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015, 15:30h
Salle de l’Europe, MISHA, Strasbourg (access)

Should economists be held responsible for the consequences of their analyses and recommendations, implemented in society ?

The economic crisis has highlighted the significant distance between economic theory and the phenomena it purports to explain. Alan Kirman gives a historical explanation for this discrepancy between theory and reality. He discusses the strength of the foundations of the theory of general equilibrium and the financial economy and the reasons why economic models do not incorporate the possibility of a crisis. Professor Kirman suggests some ways to an analysis that takes into account the possibility of this kind of episode, with simple examples. Once the economy is seen as a complex and evolving system, the problem of its theoretical analysis, but also of its regulation, changes in nature. Policy-makers need new approaches that provide a better understanding of economic reality, and economists have the responsibility to provide these.

The conference will end at 17h with drinks.

Alan Kirman

Alan KirmanAlan Kirman (MA Oxford University, PhD Princeton University) is Professor Emeritus at the Université Aix-Marseille, and Director of Studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, (EHESS). He has been professor at Johns Hopkins University, the Free University Brussels, the University of Warwick, and the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.

Alan Kirman is honorary member of the Institut Universitaire de France (since 1995), Fellow of the Econometric Society and of the European Economics Association. Among his distinctions are the Humboldt Prize (1995) and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques (2003). Alan Kirman has held the Houblon-Norman Senior Research Fellowship at the Bank of England (1994), and has been visiting Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico (1993-1997) and Richard B Fisher Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (2005-2006).

Professor Kirman is honorary editor of the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (JEBO), and associate editor of several others. He has published more than 150 articles in refereed journals and is the author of three books and editor of 15 others, among which Economics Beyond the Millinium (editor with L.A. Gerard-Varet, Oxford University Press 1999) and Complex Economics: Individual and Collective Rationality (Routledge 2010).

Alan Kirman's main interest is in the way in which markets and their participants actually function and the link between micro and macro behaviour. When taking into account the direct interaction between agents, the relation between individual actions and aggregate outcomes becomes complicated. He argues that economic activity is better viewed as the product of a complex self-organising system than as corresponding to the behaviour of an individual maximiser.

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