Three Essays on the Emergence of Complex Economic Phenomena

Stephen Daley

Advisor: Richard E Wagner, PhD, Department of Economics

Enterprise Hall, 318
March 20, 2005, 07:00 PM to 07:00 PM


The science of complexity is changing the way many disciplines look at the world. In economics the constructivist way of thinking has been unable to account for, or explain, the emergence of institutional norms, practices and rules. This institutional structure or matrix is not the result of conscious human design but rather a natural consequence of the competitive interactive processes of agents at the micro level which then bubble up to the macro level. This thesis explores the development failure as (a) a lack of understanding the crucial role played by agent interaction and the subsequent institutional practices which emerge as a result of this interaction, (b) the inability of economic theory to appreciate the role of local and dispersed knowledge in the pursuit of economic progress and the subsequent market failure thinking which results, and (c) thinking money will solve the development challenge of underdeveloped countries using the case study of microfinance in the Philippines.