In 1921 Frank Hyneman Knight, one of the 'fathers' of the Chicago School of economics, published an updated version of his doctoral dissertation under the title Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit. The book develops a theory of the firm based on entrepreneurs' 'superior judgment', an uncertain and tacit quality that therefore cannot earn a market wage. For the entrepreneur to exercise this judgment and gain from it, s/he must create an organization (a firm) to exploit the perceived opportunity – and bear the uncertainty of the endeavor.
Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit is perhaps most known for Knight's distinction between uncertainty and probabilistic risk, which has vast implications for economic theorizing. Uncertainty, as distinct from 'simple' risk, raises important questions about the feasibility of planning, the forming of expectations, and the possibility of order in the economy and beyond, on both the individual, organizational, and societal level. The problem of uncertainty, as conceptualized by Knight and distinguished from probabilistic (insurable) risk, is often understood as requiring various institutional solutions.
The Journal of Institutional Economics will publish a special issue in 2021 to commemorate the centennial of Knight's Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit guest edited by Per Bylund of Oklahoma State University. For this special issue, we have an open call for abstracts. After editor's screening of abstracts, a subset will be invited to submit their full papers, which will then undergo the journal's normal peer review process.
Abstracts due: June 1, 2020
Decisions communicated by June 31, 2020.
Complete papers submitted by: November 1, 2020