From one convention to another: When rationality “performs” the real

Nicolas Brisset

Table of Contents


This article deals with the idea of the performativity of economics. We use the notion of convention in order to emphasize a necessary condition for performativity of the scientific conventions. We show that performativity could be seen as the translation of a scientific convention into the social world. We demonstrate that such a translation needs the scientific concept to take a peculiar form: an empirical one. We study the example of the performativity of economic rationality, which is now a central concept of a new kind of public policy: “nudge” economics.


  • performativity
  • rationality
  • convention
  • liberal paternalism
  • nudge
  • empiricism

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