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The Theory of the Individual in Economics: Identity and Value (Routledge Advances in Social Economics) Hardcover – May 30, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0415202190 ISBN-10: 0415202191 Edition: 0th
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Editorial Reviews

Review

‘John Davis has written a fascinating book … [his] critique is clear, elegant, and compelling … [he] earns high points for clarity, persuasiveness, scholarship, and style. Moreover, the reader who is uncommitted but open minded about mainstream and heterodox economics will find this a powerful and convincing book. It is an excellent choice for graduate students.’ – William Waller, Journal of Economic Issues


'Overall, this is a superb book.  It is highly recommended as a meticulous and scholarly review of the literature.' - Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Economica

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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Advances in Social Economics
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (May 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415202191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415202190
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,114,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Den Perry on September 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
I must admit that I had not come across John Davis's work before, although I have subsequently discovered that he is Editor of the journal, "Review of Social Economy". This book was brought to my attention by an email from the publishers Routledge.
The book's main virtue is succinctness - too many economics books outstay their welcome and Davis does a good job of covering a core issue in the space of fewer pages than is usual.
For me, Chapter 3, which deals partly with human capital theory, is the book's strongest. Gary Becker's work and continued influence is examined and comes in for a convincing critique.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Les Alanos on September 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
A superb read, this book came like a breath of fresh air to me. Using a huge range of knowledge, the author takes the reader on a journey through economics via its most important thoroughfare: the concept of the individual.
One of the best qualities of the book is its precise style of writing - it makes for a book which does not take too long to read, but leaves one thinking of it for a long time afterwards.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tim Canterbury on September 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is good overall - hut what really makes it stand out is an unbelievably lucid section on so-called "Orthodox" or "Neoclassical" economics. Professor Davis strips the assumptions of this body of thinking bare and then moves on to draw some striking conclusions of his own.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Neil Godwin on September 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
What can I say? Taking a coach trip between Omaha and Nashville might have turned out to have been one of the worst decisions of my life given unfortunate events along the way, but that's another story. The one bright spot was finding the time to read this little gem. I'd bought it from Amazon after a friend suggested that I might like it, and finally got around to reading it on that trip.
The book is simply marvellous - a thorough analysis of the concept of the individual in economics is no mean feat and John Davis has really pulled it off here. Along the way we encounter characters such as Locke, Hume, Keynes, Hayek, Kant and Noam Chomsky!
The book made what would otherwise have been a nightmare journey into something approaching a real pleasure. For this achievement, Professor Davis, I take off my hat!
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Herbert Gintis on September 16, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The image of the individual in economics theory is being rewritten, due to advances in behavioral decision theory, behavioral game theory, experimental economics, and evolutionary game theory. This process has been going on for more than a decade, and results appear frequently in book form, in the economics journals, in psychology journals, and even in such general scientific journals as Nature, Science, New Scientist, and Scientific American. Such major names as Daniel Kanheman, Amos Tversky, Elinor Ostrom, Bruno Frey, Vernon Smith, Kevin McCabe, and Ernst Fehr do not appear in this book. Evolutionary game theory, which has all but displaced classical game theory, is mentioned a couple of times, in passing. Modern developments are completely absent from this book, which is therefore woefully out of date.

This is not very surprising. The author critiques theory rather than producing it, while others are producing new theories that at least outdate the critiques, and perhaps also solve some of the problems indicated by the critic.

What the author does, he does fairly well, although sometimes exceptionally complex arguments are alluded to rather than developed and assessed, as is the case of the presumptions of classical game theory in justifying the Nash equilibrium concept.

All in all, this will assuage the curiosity of newcomers to economics and dabblers, but there is nothing new here.
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