Economics of scientific knowledge

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The economics of scientific knowledge (ESK) is an approach to understanding science which is predicated on the need to understand scientific knowledge creation and dissemination in economic terms. The approach has been developed as a contrast to the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) which places scientists in their social context and examines their behavior using social theory. ESK typically involves thinking of scientists as having economic interests with these being thought of as utility maximisation and science as being a market process. Modelling strategies might use any of a variety of approaches including the neoclasscial, game theoretic, behavioural (bounded rationality) information theoretic and transaction costs. Boumans and Davis (2010) mention Dasgupta and David (1997) as being an interesting early example of work in this area.[1][2][3][4]


  1. Boumans, M and Davis, John B. (2010) Economic Methodology: Understanding Economics as a science, Palgrave Macmillan (p129-133)
  2. Hands, D. Wade (2001) Reflection without rules: economic methodology and contemporary science theory, Cambridge University Press
  3. Tyfield, David (2008) The impossibility of finitism: from SSK to ESK? Erasmus Journal of Philosophy and Economics, 1 (1). pp. 61-86.
  4. Dasgupta P. and David P. (1994), Towards a New Economics of Science, Research Policy, 23, 487-532.