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The normative dimensions of action and order - the economics of an inclusive Europe - NORMEC, Final Report, EUR 23150

Project ID: HPSE-CT-2001-00081


The point of departure of NORMEC was the assessment of the economic importance of the normative dimensions of action and order; its main goal was the setting up of a general framework for the design of institutions and public policies that may foster civic dispositions and collective action.
The analysis of the origins and evolution of the concepts of action and order within economics led to the conclusion that the biased mainstream interpretations of the classics' works deprived their heritage of elements which are crucial in respect to current debates. In particular, Adam Smith's theory of moral sentiments and the discussion on commensurability by the marginalists, although largely ignored, are highly relevant contributions to the current efforts aimed at recasting economics' concepts of agency and order.
The need for a renewed perspective on economic action in light of the importance of moral concerns, commitments to social norms, structural and institutional factors was confirmed by the experiments and simulations carried out within the project. Justice concerns and group identity were highlighted as critical in understanding how and why social dilemmas are overcome. Communication and the evaluative judgement of the legitimacy of institutions were singled out as essential in respect to cooperation.

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