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Economics without Entrepreneurship or Institutions: A Vocabulary Analysis of Graduate Textbooks

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  • Johansson, Dan

    ()
    (The Ratio Institute)

Abstract

A teacher’s words reflect the theory and methods he uses. Words reveal theoretical structures, the problems identified as relevant, and how those problems should be analyzed. I investigate whether entrepreneurship-rich and institutions-rich theories are represented in Ph.D. programs in economics. I analyze textbooks for the presence of terms that fall naturally into two sets. One set deals with the knowledge and discovery: entrepreneur, innovation, invention, tacit knowledge, and bounded rationality. The other deals with social rules: institutions, property rights, and economic freedom. When the words appear I examine the meaning. I examine the textbooks used in required courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics and industrial organization in all Ph.D. programs in economics in Sweden. The investigation is not specific to Sweden, however, because Ph.D. programs in Sweden are virtually identical to programs in the United States. The same textbooks are used, and nearly all of the textbooks examined are written by economists in the United States. I find that (i) all programs are in the tradition of “mainstream” economics; (ii) by and large, the eight expressions scarcely appear in the textbooks; and (iii) when they do appear, their meaning is diluted or distorted, compared to their meaning in theories where the idea is more central. In my judgment, the results constitute powerful evidence that today’s doctoral programs do not train young economists to identify and analyze important economic issues in a relevant way.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Ratio Institute in its series Ratio Working Papers with number 58.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 18 Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Econ Journal Watch, 2004, pages 515-538.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0058

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Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: 08-441 59 00
Fax: 08-441 59 29
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Web page: http://www.ratio.se/
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Related research

Keywords: Bounded rationality; Economic freedom; Entrepreneur; Innovation; Institution; Invention; Property rights; Tacit knowledge; Textbooks; Ph.D. programs; Education;

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References

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  12. Henrekson, Magnus & Rosenberg, Nathan, 2001. " Designing Efficient Institutions for Science-Based Entrepreneurship: Lessons from the US and Sweden," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 207-31, June.
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    • Robert J. Barro & Paul Romer, 1993. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr93-1, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Arild Sæther & Ib E. Eriksen, 2014. "Ragnar Frisch and the Postwar Norwegian Economy," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 11(1), pages 46-80, January.
  2. Bianchi, Milo & Henrekson, Magnus, 2005. "Is Neoclassical Economics still Entrepreneurless?," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 584, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 02 Feb 2005.
  3. Tawni H. Ferrarini & James D. Gwartney & John S. Morton, 2011. "Advanced Placement Economics: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 8(1), pages 57-75, January.

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