Onthecontrary

The theory of institutions as “rules in equilibrium” was developed jointly with Frank Hindriks. Some commentaries have appeared in the Journal of Institutional Economics:

Aoki, Masahiko (2015) “Why is the equilibrium notion essential for a unified institutional theory? A friendly remark on the article by Hindriks and Guala.” Journal of Institutional Economics 11: 485-488. Link

Binmore, Ken (2015) “Institutions, rules and equilibria: a commentary.” Journal of Institutional Economics 11: 493-496. Link

Hodgson, Geoffrey (2015) “On defining institutions: rules versus equilibria.” Journal of Institutional Economics 11: 497-505. Link

Searle, John (2015) “Status functions and institutional facts: reply to Hindriks and Guala.” Journal of Institutional Economics 11: 507-514. Link

Smith, Vernon (2015) “Conduct, rules and the origins of institutions.” Journal of Institutional Economics 11: 481-483. Link

Sugden, Robert (2015) “On ‘common-sense ontology’: a comment on the paper by Frank Hindriks and Francesco Guala.” Journal of Institutional Economics 11: 489-492. Link

Frank and I have replied here. Other papers that criticize or endorse our approach are beginning to appear:

Rust, Joshua (2017) “On the relation between institutional statuses and technical atefacts: a proposed taxonomy of social kinds”, International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25: 704-722. Link

The following reviews of my book, Understanding Institutions, include remarks on and critiques of the rules-in-equilibrium theory:

Hédoin, Cyril in Oekonomia 6 (2016): 443-50. Link

Vanderschraaf, Peter in Economics & Philosophy (2017). Link

Himmelreich, Johannes in Journal of Social Ontology (2017). Link

Hodgson, Geoffrey in Journal of Economic Methodology (2017). Link


Several people have written comments on “Reciprocity: Weak or Strong?” – among them Chris Boehm, Sam Bowles, Richard Boyd, Peter Richerson, Simon Gachter, David Rand, Herb Gintis, Ernst Fehr, Jo Henrich, Elinor Ostrom, Don Ross, and Bob Sugden.

They are all here, followed by my reply. The original paper is now widely cited – see for example

van Lange, Paul, Rockenbach, Bettina, and Yamagishi, Toshio (eds. 2014) Reward and Punishment in Social Dilemmas. Oxford University Press. Link


My attempt to revive the problem of external validity, in The Methodology of Experimental Economics, has generated some perplexities:

Jones, Martin (2008) “On the autonomy of experiments in economics.” Journal of Economic Methodology 15: 391-407. Link

Jimenez-Buedo, Maria, and Luis Miller (2010) “Why a trade-off? The relationship between the external and internal validity of experiments.” Theoria 25: 301-321. Link

Steel, Daniel (2010) “A new approach to argument by analogy: extrapolation and chain graphs.” Philosophy of Science 77: 1058-1069. Link

Jiménez-Buedo, Maria (2011) “Conceptual tools for assessing experiments: some well-entrenched confusions regarding the internal/external validity distinction.” Journal of Economic Methodology 18: 271-282. Link

Heukelom, Floris (2011) “How validity travelled to economic experimenting.” Journal of Economic Methodology 18: 13-28. Link

Jones, Martin (2011) “External Validity and Libraries of Phenomena: A Critique of Guala’s Methodology of Experimental Economics.” Economics and Philosophy 27: 247-271 (my reply is here).

Jackson, Cecile (2012) “Internal and external validity in experimental games: a social reality check.” The European Journal of Development Research, 24(1), 71-88. Link

Gadenne, Volker (2013) “External validity and the new inductivism in experimental economics.” Rationality, Markets and Morals 4, no. 63 . Link

Marcellesi, Alexandre (2015) “External validity: is there still a problem?” Philosophy of Science 82: 1308-1317. Link

See also these book reviews:

by Anna Alexandrova, Dan Hausman, Shaun Hargreaves-Heap, and Frank Hindriks, in Journal of Economic Methodology 15 (2008), 197-231 (this review symposium is followed by my reply).

by Don Ross, in British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (2008), pp. 247-252. Link

by Shepley Orr, in Economics and Philosophy 23 (2007), pp. 401-407. Link

by Joachim Weimann, in Journal of Economic Literature 44 (2006), pp. 726-728. Link

by Ivan Moscati, in History of Economic Ideas, 14 (2006), pp. 123-130. Link

by Fabian Muniesa, European Economic Sociology Newsletter, 7 (2), February 2006.

by David Teira, in Theoria, 21 (2006), pp. 342-343 (in Spanish). Link

by Flavio Felice, in Review of Metaphysics, 59 (2006), pp. 888-889.


Models, Simulations, and Experiments” defends the idea that experiments can be demarcated from simulations on the basis of their “materiality”. The “materiality thesis” has sparked a debate that is still going on. For example:

Parker, Wendy (2009) “Does matter really matter? Computer simulations, experiments, and materiality.” Synthese 169: 483-496. Link

Winsberg, Eric (2009) “A tale of two methods.” Synthese 169: 575-592. Link

Parke, Emily (2014) “Experiments, simulations, and epistemic privilege.” Philosophy of Science 81: 516-536. Link

Roush, Sherrilyn (2017) “The epistemic superiority of experiment to simulation.” Synthese, online first. Link


Building Economic Machines” is an early contribution to the literature on “economic performativity”. My account of the design of the FCC auctions has been criticised by Edward Nik-Khah in various papers:

Nik-Khah, Edward (2006) “What the FCC Auctions can tell us about the performativity thesis.” Economic Sociology–European Electronic Newsletter 7: 15-21. Link

Mirowski, Philip, and Edward Nik-Khah (2007) “Performativity, and a problem in Science Studies, augmented with consideration of the FCC Auctions.” in D. MacKenzie, F. Muniesa and L. Siu (eds.) Do economists make markets? Princeton University Press, pp. 190-225.

Nik-Khah, Edward (2008) “A tale of two auctions.” Journal of Institutional Economics 4: 73-97. Link

Here is my reply: “Getting the FCC auctions straight“.