How Theories Travel: Network Topologies and the Role of the Translator in the Early Diffusion of Rational Choice Theories

Abstract:How do scientific innovations spread within and across scientific communities? In this paper, we address this question by applying network analysis to study the early spread of John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern’s Theory of Games and Economic Behavior within and across the social and behavioral sciences as an exemplary case of the diffusion of scientific concepts and formal-mathematical tools. Using co-citation analysis, we reconstruct the knowledge domain in which the concepts and tools contained in the Theory of Games have found further modification and application.

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