Ants can show us how the rhythm of local interactions creates patterns in the behavior and development of large groups.Via Teppo Felin at Orgtheory What Gordon suggests is that spatial and temporal periodicities could be used to coordinate (unconsciously) the behavior of groups of people. Isn't this what Thomas Schelling suggested decades ago? Why haven't economists (in particular) made more progress on these fronts? Here are my guesses:
- The rational expectations model of group behavior is operationalized through revealed preferences, and tests of the model have been possible only through aggregate statistics like the CPI. (Maybe Google will have a hand in more fine-grained tests.)
- Most economists never ask the why or how questions when it comes to preference formation. Take the Becker and Stigler classic as evidence.
- (Most importantly) The data didn't exist at least until Csikszentmihalyi started handing out pagers for the ESM project in the 1980s.