Herbert A. Simon acknowledged Friedrich A. Hayek as a founder of the notion of bounded rationality; yet Simon considered Hayek's perspective incomplete, and, more in general, their views on market mechanisms, planning, and organization exhibit considerable differences. The comparison between these authors sheds light on Simon's interpretation of planning, which emerges within his theory of organization (and not in traditional debates on socialism). Contrary to Hayek, he maintained that planning, in specific circumstances, is more advantageous than the market; and in both administration and organization, it involves a decentralized structure based on near independent sub-units. Decentralization of decisions also appears in social planning, which evolves through continuous interactions among planners (i.e., agents and institutions), and it is a process connoted by the absence of “fixed goals”. Finally, Simon defined modern economies more in terms of “organizational economies” than in those of “market economies” and this highlights a further difference with respect to the Austrian economist. This leads to analysis of the nature of organizations as hierarchical and “near-decomposable” structures, which refers to Simon's theory of complexity and gives an epistemological explanation to the relation between centralization and decentralization.

Is H.A. Simon a Theoretician of Decentralized Planning? A Comparison with F.A. Hayek on Planning, Market, and Organizations

FIORI, Stefano
2010

Abstract

Herbert A. Simon acknowledged Friedrich A. Hayek as a founder of the notion of bounded rationality; yet Simon considered Hayek's perspective incomplete, and, more in general, their views on market mechanisms, planning, and organization exhibit considerable differences. The comparison between these authors sheds light on Simon's interpretation of planning, which emerges within his theory of organization (and not in traditional debates on socialism). Contrary to Hayek, he maintained that planning, in specific circumstances, is more advantageous than the market; and in both administration and organization, it involves a decentralized structure based on near independent sub-units. Decentralization of decisions also appears in social planning, which evolves through continuous interactions among planners (i.e., agents and institutions), and it is a process connoted by the absence of “fixed goals”. Finally, Simon defined modern economies more in terms of “organizational economies” than in those of “market economies” and this highlights a further difference with respect to the Austrian economist. This leads to analysis of the nature of organizations as hierarchical and “near-decomposable” structures, which refers to Simon's theory of complexity and gives an epistemological explanation to the relation between centralization and decentralization.
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http://springerlink.com/content/102866/?Content+Status=Accepted
Planning, Market, Organizations, Bounded rationality, Complexity, B19, B40, D21, D40, D8, L2
S. FIORI
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/100766
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