Bénédicte Reynaud

Economic Rules and Their Uses Publication date : February 1, 2004

This book is written from the point of view of the "economics of conventions", an approach which holds that economic activity is never exercised in a context of pure "laissez faire" and that, on the contrary, it is always governed by rules, whether external (public authority) or internal (company rules).
Bénédicte Reynaud has not written a general treatise on economic laws. Instead, she has studied a specific question: How are rules followed so as to enable the co-ordination and cohesion of the social world? Neither has she dealt with this issue as an abstraction, to be studied in the light of a preconceived doctrine; instead, she has focused on a grassroots study for the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP), the Parisian municipal transport system.
She begins by examining macroeconomic laws in two specific cases: unemployment and the elimination of salary indexation. She then analyses the microeconomic laws governing one precise example: the introduction of a bonus in an RATP workshop. And she concludes by giving a significant empirical content to Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of "habitus".
This is a remarkable study in applied economics because it is both highly concrete and very general. Because the analysis of rules provided here can be applied to any social domain, this landmark book will be of interest to readers in all areas of the social sciences.
Reynaud’s book is part of Editions Odile Jacob’s series on regulationist economics, along with the previously published works by Orléan, Aglietta, Lordon and Boyer.

Bénédicte Reynaud is a research fellow in economics at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and a member of CEPREMAP.