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Mathiness in the Theory of Economic Growth

Author

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  • Paul M. Romer

Abstract

Mathiness lets academic politics masquerade as science. Like mathematical theory, mathiness uses a mixture of words and symbols, but instead of making tight links, it leaves ample room for slippage between statements in the languages of words as opposed to symbols, and between statements with theoretical as opposed to empirical content. Because it is difficult to distinguish machines from mathematical theory, the market for lemons tells us that the market for mathematical theory might collapse, leaving only machines as entertainment that is worth little but cheap to produce.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul M. Romer, 2015. "Mathiness in the Theory of Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 89-93, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:5:p:89-93
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20151066
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Wagner, Alfred, 1891. "Marshall's Principles of Economics," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 5, pages 319-338.
    2. Robert E. Lucas Jr. & Benjamin Moll, 2014. "Knowledge Growth and the Allocation of Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(1), pages 1-51.
    3. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 1-9.
    4. Romer, Paul, 1994. "New goods, old theory, and the welfare costs of trade restrictions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 5-38, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Tribes?
      by Stephen Williamson in Stephen Williamson: New Monetarist Economics on 2015-09-05 00:13:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:ksa:szemle:1743 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Chatelain, Jean-Bernard & Ralf, Kirsten, 2017. "Publish and Perish: Creative Destruction and Macroeconomic Theory," EconStor Preprints 149994, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    3. Glötzl, Florentin & Aigner, Ernest, 2015. "Pluralism in the Market of Science? A citation network analysis of economic research at universities in Vienna," Ecological Economic Papers 4730, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    4. Vergara, Damian, 2015. "La economía y su pretensión de ciencia exacta: Un comentario respecto del ejercicio académico de la profesión," Estudios Nueva Economía, Estudios Nueva Economía, vol. 4(1), pages 17-24.
    5. Kőrösi, Gábor, 2016. "A lány továbbra is szolgál..
      [Modelling and econometrics]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(6), pages 647-667.
    6. Jean Imbs & Basile Grassi, 2016. "Why Risky Sectors Grow Fast," 2016 Meeting Papers 1209, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Gosselin, Pierre & Lotz, Aïleen & Wambst, Marc, 2016. "How To Spend It? Capital Accumulation in a Changing World," MPRA Paper 71665, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. repec:spr:scient:v:113:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2519-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. David Dequech, 2016. "Some Institutions (Social Norms And Conventions) Of Contemporary Mainstream Economics, Macroeconomics, And Financial Economics," Anais do XLIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 43rd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 006, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    10. Florentin Gloetzl & Ernest Aigner, 2015. "Pluralism in the Market of Science? A citation network analysis of economic research at universities in Vienna," Ecological Economics Papers ieep5, Institute of Ecological Economics.
    11. repec:spr:sjecst:v:154:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1186_s41937-017-0019-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Falkinger, Josef, 2016. "The order of knowledge and robust action: How to deal with economic uncertainty?," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 10, pages 1-30.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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