Theoretical Paper

Theoretical Paper

Mark Pennington: Hayek on Complexity, Uncertainty and Pandemic Response

This paper draws on Hayek’s distinction between simple and complex phenomena to understand the nature of the challenge facing policymakers in responding to the new coronavirus pandemic. It shows that while government action is justifiable there may be few systemic mechanisms that enable policymakers to distinguish better from worse policy responses, or to make such distinctions in sufficient time.
Theoretical Paper

John Meadowcroft: Buchanan at the American Founding: The Constitutional Political Economy of a Republic of Equals and Unequals

James M. Buchanan cited the American Founding as an important inspiration for his constitutional vision. His insistence on unanimous constitutional agreement highlights the fact that the Constitutional Convention did not obtain the consent of the black Americans. Accordingly, Buchanan’s work leads to an appreciation of the Founders as an archetype of the constitutional mentality that he advocated throughout his work, but also to an understanding that the Founding fell short of his ideal of genuinely consensual politics.
Theoretical Paper

Paul Lewis: The Innovation Systems Approach: an Austrian and Ostromian Perspective

The innovation systems (IS) approach—developed by Richard Nelson, Christopher Freeman and Bengt-Ake Lundvall, amongst others—has become perhaps the dominant approach in the academic literature for the study of innovation. This paper argues that the work of Friedrich Hayek and Elinor Ostrom can be used to draw attention to some potential difficulties with the way in which the IS approach is often used to guide policy.