El Núcleo Milenio de Investigación en Energía y Sociedad (NUMIES) le invita al primer seminario internacional sobre Energía y Sociedad. En esta ocasión, el académico Daniel Breslau del departamento Science and Technology Studies de la Universidad Virginia Tech, presentará el paper “Bounding economic rationality: time-varying rates and the new electricity consumer”. La actividad se realizará el miércoles 13 de abril, a las 15:00 hrs., en la sala B-21 de la Biblioteca Nicanor Parra, ubicada en Vergara 324, Santiago.
Bounding economic rationality: time-varying rates and the new electricity consumer
As economic sociology has pointed out, the rational actor of economic theory is not an anthropological universal, but is a historically-bound and socially-constructed agent. Recent literature on “performativity” based in science and technology studies has concurred, but has incorporated the role of economic knowledge and technologies in the formation of economic agents as assemblages. Another literature, on the sociology of prices, emphasizes political struggle in explaining the establishment of pricing systems. Using the case of recent reforms in the retail pricing of electricity this paper investigates the concurrent formation of a new price system and of the economic agents who are attuned to it. Through an analysis of a specific regulatory case, in which a new pricing framework was proposed, negotiated, and approved, we find, first that the price system adopted is the outcome of a struggle among actors with conflicting interests. Second, it is not only the prices, but the consumers themselves, the kind of calculations they are able to make, and the devices that enable them, that are outcomes of this process. The degree to which consumers respond to constantly varying prices in real-time, or to a tightly-circumscribed set of prices at relatively rare decision points, and thus the extent to which their rationality is bounded, is itself an outcome of the same political process.