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Interpersonal interaction and economic theory: the case of public goods

Bardsley, N. (2000) Interpersonal interaction and economic theory: the case of public goods. Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, 71 (2). pp. 191-228. ISSN 1467-8292

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/1467-8292.00140


Interpersonal interaction in public goods contexts is very different in character to its depiction in economic theory, despite the fact that the standard model is based on a small number of apparently plausible assumptions. Approaches to the problem are reviewed both from within and outside economics. It is argued that quick fixes such as a taste for giving do not provide a way forward. An improved understanding of why people contribute to such goods seems to require a different picture of the relationships between individuals than obtains in standard microeconomic theory, where they are usually depicted as asocial. No single economic model at present is consistent with all the relevant field and laboratory data. It is argued that there are defensible ideas from outside the discipline which ought to be explored, relying on different conceptions of rationality and/or more radically social agents. Three such suggestions are considered, one concerning the expressive/communicative aspect of behaviour, a second the possibility of a part-whole relationship between interacting agents and the third a version of conformism.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Agri-Food Economics & Marketing
ID Code:33364

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