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Lucas on the relationship between theory and ideology

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  • Michel DE VROEY

    ()
    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))

Abstract

This paper concerns a neglected aspect of Lucas’s work: his methodological writings, published and unpublished. Particular attention is paid to his views on the relationship between theory and ideology. I start by setting out Lucas’s non-standard conception of theory: to him, a theory and a model are the same thing. I also explore the different facets and implications of this conception. In the next two sections, I debate whether Lucas adheres to two methodological principles that I dub the ‘non-interference’ precept (the proposition that ideological viewpoints should not influence theory), and the ‘non-exploitation’ precept (that the models’ conclusions should not be transposed into policy recommendations, in so far as these conclusions are built into the models’ premises). The last part of the paper contains my assessment of Lucas’s ideas. First, I bring out the extent to which Lucas departs from the view held by most specialized methodologists. Second, I wonder whether the new classical revolution resulted from a political agenda. Third and finally, I claim that the tensions characterizing Lucas’s conception of theory follow from his having one foot in the neo- Walrasian and the other in the Marshallian-Friedmanian universe.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2010031.

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Length: 24
Date of creation: 30 Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2010031

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Keywords: Lucas; new classical macroeconomics; methodology;

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  1. Michel DE VROEY, 2010. "Lucas on the Lucasian transformation of macroeconomics: an assessment," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2010032, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  2. Michel DE VROEY, 2009. "Marshall and Walras : Incompatible Bedfellows ?," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2009008, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Michel, DE VROEY, 2004. "On the Right Side for the Wrong Reason : Friedman on the Marshall-Walras divide," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2004015, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  4. Michel, DE VROEY, 2005. "Involuntary Unemployment : the Elusive Quest for a Theory," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005004, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
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Cited by:
  1. Michel DE VROEY, 2010. "Lucas on the Lucasian transformation of macroeconomics: an assessment," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2010032, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).

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