Some epistemological implications of economic complexity

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22 Scopus citations


I review some epistemological implications of economic complexity, with an emphasis on Turing computability and algorithmic information theory. I examine an argument from F.A. Hayek's theory of complex phenomena in this context and discuss the apparent implication that economic complexity prevents us from eliminating literary methods from economic science. If literary methods are a necessary part of economic science, then the highest level of mathematical rigor may not ensure high quality analysis if the literary methods we use are not equally rigorous. Hayek seems to point to a literary tradition in social science that may have established informative standards of rigor for the literary parts of economic science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)859-872
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Algorithmic information theory
  • Complexity
  • Epistemology
  • F.A. Hayek
  • Folk psychology
  • Mind-reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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