Lawrence Kelso Frank's Proto Ayresian Dichotomy: A Note

University of Siena Economics Working Paper No. 395

23 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2004

See all articles by Pier Francesco Asso

Pier Francesco Asso

University of Palermo

Luca Fiorito

University of Siena - Department of Economics; New School University

Date Written: August 2003

Abstract

This paper explores Lawrence Kelso Frank's contribution to the evolution of the so called Veblenian dichotomy. According to this apprach, peculiar to the institutional framework of every economic system is an absolute and irreconcilable tension between the dynamic and progressive force of technology on the one side, and the static and conservative structure of ceremony and institutions on the other. The first section examines Frank's adoption of behavioristic psychology in connection with the main changes which were taking place in the American social sciences during the first decades of the twentieth century. The second section describes Frank's theory of institutional change, emphasizing its similarities with the brand of institutionalism developed by Clarence Ayres in the early 1940s. The third section compares Frank's institutionalism with the contributions of Thorstein Veblen and the philosopher John Dewey. Our main conclusion is that, in many respects, Frank's work represents a departure from Veblen's and a step toward an Ayresian dichotomic analysis of institutional evolution.

Keywords: American institutionalism, Ayres, Clarence, Behaviourism, Dewey, John, Frank, Lawrence K., Economics and psychology, Veblen Thorstein

JEL Classification: B25, B31, B42, B52

Suggested Citation

Asso, Pier Francesco and Fiorito, Luca, Lawrence Kelso Frank's Proto Ayresian Dichotomy: A Note (August 2003). University of Siena Economics Working Paper No. 395, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=467400 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.467400

Pier Francesco Asso (Contact Author)

University of Palermo ( email )

Viale delle Scienza
Palermo, 90128
Italy

Luca Fiorito

University of Siena - Department of Economics ( email )

Piazza S. Francesco, 7
Siena, I-53100
Italy
0577 232620 (Phone)
0577 232661 (Fax)

New School University ( email )

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New York, NY 10011
United States

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