GUIDE to Hirsch, Paul, Stuart Michaels, and Ray Friedman. 1987. "'Dirty Hands versus Clean Models.'"


Hirsch et al. perceives the threat the economics would colonize and take over sociology. This is what they call 'economic imperialism.' Why is there this danger?

They try to establish a distinction between the two discipline and show that sociology has many things to offer and can complement economics. What are the comparative advantages of sociology according to the authors?

They discuss the debate between Scott and Popkin under the title 'A cautionary tale.' Scott argues that peasants cannot afford to fail and this prevents them to take necessary risks to maximize their 'utility function.' They also depend on the collective to a larger extent when there is a bad harvest and thus they cannot afford to ignore the interest of the collective. Popkin disputes this and suggest that peasants are rational just like anyone. What is the lesson of this cautionary tale?

Interlocking directorates of companies means that the same person sits on the board of several companies. To the extent to which board members are powerful in guiding several companies at the same time, companies cannot be thought of as independent decision-makers, because their fates are tied to one another. What is economics reaction to this challenge according to Hirsch et al.?