Sep 30, 2013

Marketing and Economic Anthropology

From an interview with Tyler Cowen 
As more of our economy becomes about marketing this will mean economic theory explains less and less of what’s going on. I think what I call “the economic anthropologists” will rise in importance. It will be hard for them to show that what they’re doing is as equally scientific as the traditional number crunchers, but nonetheless that will be the way to understand what’s actually going on. 
So I’m a big fan of someone like Grant McCracken, who is, in fact, an anthropologist. He spends a lot of his time working with companies, helping them figure out how they can understand what it is their consumers care about and how to grab the attention of those people.
Here Tyler tells his perspective on the difference between economics and anthropology. Tyler himself has done remarkable work on (or with) economic anthropology. His books An economist gets lunch and Markets and Cultural Voices combined, among other things, ethnographic field work, anthropological concepts, with behavioral economics, history, and economic theory (a great interview about the first book is here). 

Here there is a piece on economic anthropology I wrote, its definition and its future. But I missed one of Tyler's main points, which is economic anthropology as a way to analyze consumer behavior, as a complement, and may be as a substitute, of big data analysis (data mining/multivariate statistics). 

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