Synopsis: Recent developments in economic literature have pointed out that path-dependence has a cognitive dimension. The paper shows how this result may be analyzed in more depth, by making explicit the links between the properties of path-dependent processes in economics and the functioning of the mind. Through the investigation of memory mechanisms, we explain why human beings might be considered as complex systems whose growth follows a stochastic and non-ergodic dynamic. Our main claim is that the concept of path-dependence, as commonly interpreted, does not take the reconstructive nature which characterizes human memory into full account. When such nature is acknowledged, the relevance of the mind in orientating individual attitude toward the past is extended and seems to be more important than discussed in the traditional literature. To specifically clarify the active role played by the human mind in the continuous process of revising past experiences and their influence on current outcomes, we introduce the concept of mind-dependence. Among the most relevant implications for economic theory, mind-dependence extends the meaning of lock-in and allows for the definition of new devices to escape trapping states.

Mind-Dependence. The Past in the Grip of the Present

PATALANO, Roberta
2007

Abstract

Synopsis: Recent developments in economic literature have pointed out that path-dependence has a cognitive dimension. The paper shows how this result may be analyzed in more depth, by making explicit the links between the properties of path-dependent processes in economics and the functioning of the mind. Through the investigation of memory mechanisms, we explain why human beings might be considered as complex systems whose growth follows a stochastic and non-ergodic dynamic. Our main claim is that the concept of path-dependence, as commonly interpreted, does not take the reconstructive nature which characterizes human memory into full account. When such nature is acknowledged, the relevance of the mind in orientating individual attitude toward the past is extended and seems to be more important than discussed in the traditional literature. To specifically clarify the active role played by the human mind in the continuous process of revising past experiences and their influence on current outcomes, we introduce the concept of mind-dependence. Among the most relevant implications for economic theory, mind-dependence extends the meaning of lock-in and allows for the definition of new devices to escape trapping states.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11367/16695
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