In fits & starts I’ve been reading Albert O. Hirschman’s “Exit, Voice and Loyalty”. For a while I kept part of a bookmark on an early section to remind me to comment on it, and that’s what this is. One of the topics in the book is how economic actors do not always maximize and may often exhibit “slack”. He gets into a discussion of theories of irrational behavior in economics, which are still the hot new thing four decades later. What’s surprising is his citation of Gary Becker as one of the theorists who worked with irrationality, since Becker is famous for applying “economic imperialism” of rational choice theory to areas traditionally considered part of sociology (crime, families, etc). The citation is to the paper with the title of this post, which JSTOR tries to lock away from the unwashed masses but a kindly soul has placed here. A lot of it involves mathematical statements about overlapping areas of graphed curves, so you may prefer Micha Ghertner’s classic Alchian-inspired post What Does The Free Market Require?

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