Non-NU Email



Hi, Paolo, and all,



agreed on method vs. methodology. The SFM is an "approach", mostly method,
with some methodological reflection.



On the social dilemma, I would disagree: Look at the applications of the SFM
(the Fullwiler/Elsner/Natarajan-edited book has quite a number of diverse
applications, an older Groenewegen/Elsner vol. on industrial policy has
another most interesting case by Greg and Steve Bolduc).


What I found most convincing in many of these cases is that, although not
explicitly mentioned, many cases deal exactly with collective dilemmas, and
show related collective lock-ins as a result of complex filled-in and "run"
SFMs. It is getting very clear then that the collective lock-ins cannot be
solved other than by value changes or institutional reform (and which ones).
Something that we otherwise would not have recognized in the raw material,
or would have needed very difficult verbal arguments to reach at. Or would
have to apply, most insufficiently, an evolutionary game model (which I
sometimes did).


As an instance, if you look at the Hayden/Bolduc chapter (#9) in the
Groenewegen/Elsner Kluwer/Springer book of 2000 (old, but, at least, this
century!), you will find a spectacular corporate-state locked-in system that
explains why a Nebraska-based inter-state low radioactive waste disposal
site will come out at a surprisingly huge expense of the taxpayer, a result
of a one-sided "solution" of a collective dilemma, a win-lose PD-"solution".


BTW, Greg, in the early 2000s, managed with this study (which went public
even up to the national level) to prevent that project! An ideal case of
what effect a study can have in the real world.  


I would be glad if a new generation of early-career scholars would get aware
of the SFM-approach, apply it and weave into it recent computational
methods, where applicable. My impression is that Greg once succeeded to
educate one, two generations of scholars who worked with the SFM, but some
(including my own ex-PhD students and RAs) were more attracted by recent
computational methods (they ARE institutionalists!).  



So far for today.

Many cheers, 




Von: AFEEMAIL Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> Im Auftrag von
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Gesendet: Mittwoch, 12. Mai 2021 10:46
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Betreff: [AFEEMAIL] R: Response to comments about the social fabric matrix.


Non-NU Email


Dear Greg, 


my impression is that much of the discussion about the SFM is unclear - in
terms of shifting agreements and disagreements - because of a confusion that
is frequent within the discipline. Just to make my point, you cite the
following remark on the SFM:  

'The SFM "methodology is philosophically and theoretically developed from,
and consistent with, the original evolutionary-institutional economics . . .
and is one of the most comprehensive, empirical, and policy-relevant
methodologies to come out of OIE"'. 

I do not want to be pedantic but SFM is not a 'methodology' ('the analysis
of the principles or procedures of inquiry in a particular field' - Merriam
Webster) but a method ('a way, technique, or process of or for doing
something' - ibid).   

 Whether a method (a tool) such as the SFM - or ABM - is most appropriate to
deal with a specific problem depends on methodology. If I am carrying out a
thought experiment - consider the 'trivial' issues underlying the Prisoners'
Dilemma -  SFM may even be of no use at all. And, yet, thought experiments
are important.