How Much Does a Belief Cost?: Revisiting the Marketplace of Ideas

Abstract
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. is often credited with creating the metaphor of “the marketplace of ideas,” though he did not use the exact phrase and his argument for free speech was not based on distinctively economic reasoning. Truly economic investigations of the marketplace of ideas have progressed in step with developments and trends in the law and economics literature. These investigations have tended to be one-sided, with writers focusing primarily either on the production of ideas (for example, Posner) or their consumption (for example, behavioral law and economics), without considering in depth how producers and consumers interact. This may be because, for the most part, there is no literal market in ideas, in the sense that ideas are not generally goods exchanged for value at a price. As a result, the market mechanism cannot use price signals to coordinate the actions of self-interested actors and create efficiency through trade. To the extent that something like a market in ideas can be said to exist, this market is characterized by numerous, largely unavoidable sources of market failure. At the same time, there is no conceptual barrier to pursuing an economic approach to the study of the production, dissemination, and consumption of ideas. The article concludes by applying the marketplace of ideas metaphor to a puzzle in the recent history of economic thought: the tendency of sophisticated mathematical models to displace less sophisticated but more predictively useful models in contemporary economics. This phenomenon can be explained—even without positing an ad hoc preference among economists for mathematical elegance—through the anti-competitive benefits of the mathematical mode of economic idea-production.
Keywords marketplace of ideas  law and economics  economics of belief  free expression  free speech  free markets
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive Gregory Brazeal, How Much Does a Belief Cost?: Revisiting the Marketplace of Ideas
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Robert Sparrow & Robert Goodin (2001). The Competition of Ideas: Market or Garden? Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 4 (2):45-58.
Allan Walstad (2001). On Science as a Free Market. Perspectives on Science 9 (3):324-340.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-02-02

Total downloads

65 ( #22,708 of 1,101,679 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

24 ( #5,904 of 1,101,679 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.