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Dr. Keynes: Economic Theory in a Diagnostic Science

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  • Kevin Hoover

    (Department of Economics, University of California Davis)

Abstract

In his own view, economic theory was important to Keynes’s work as an economists. Aside from the General Theory, most of his economic writings, however policy oriented make explicit reference to theory. Nevertheless, Keynes’s theoretical style is so far from what contemporary economics regards as “theory” that some have dismissed Keynes as a theorist altogether or thought of him as a theorist hampered by the lack of modern mathematical tools. In this paper, I argue to the contrary that Keynes’s theoretical style is conditioned by a conception of theory as a diagnostic tool. This is a natural development from Marshall, and conceptually very different from modern macroeconomists. It is nonetheless a very attractive conception of the place of theory in economics.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of California, Davis, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 63.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: 01 Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cda:wpaper:06-3

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Keywords: general theory; economics; contemporary;

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  1. Roger E. Backhouse & Jeff Biddle, 2000. "The Concept of Applied Economics: A History of Ambiguity and Multiple Meanings," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 32(5), pages 1-24, Supplemen.
  2. Michel De Vroey, 2004. "The History of Macroeconomics Viewed against the Background of the Marshall-Walras Divide," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 36(5), pages 57-91, Supplemen.
  3. Hoover, Kevin D., 2004. "Lost Causes," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(02), pages 149-164, June.
  4. Hicks, J. R., 1975. "Value and Capital: An Inquiry into some Fundamental Principles of Economic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780198282693, September.
  5. Bradley W. Bateman, 1990. "Keynes, Induction, and Econometrics," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 359-379, Summer.
  6. Milton Friedman, 1949. "The Marshallian Demand Curve," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57, pages 463.
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