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The Eclipse of the Uncertainty Concept in Mainstream Economics

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  • Geoffrey Hodgson

Abstract

This paper examines the decline in use of the Knight-Keynes uncertainty concept in mainstream economics. Using electronic archives, it shows that the frequency of its appearance in leading journals of economics has fallen rapidly from the 1950s. As well as to the declining popularity of Keynesian ideas since about 1970, the decrease in this use of the uncertainty concept is additionally related to the increasing mathematical formalization of economics and to the prevalence of a positivist emphasis on prediction. Some possible causes of this formalization are examined. Finally the essay discusses the prospects for a broadening of economics within universities, beyond a relatively narrow preoccupation with predictive formalism and including a reinvigorated Keynesianism.

Suggested Citation

  • Geoffrey Hodgson, 2011. "The Eclipse of the Uncertainty Concept in Mainstream Economics," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(1), pages 159-176.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:45:y:2011:i:1:p:159-176
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624450109
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.2753/JEI0021-3624450109
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bronk, Richard & Jacoby, Wade, 2016. "Uncertainty and the dangers of monocultures in regulation, analysis, and practice," MPIfG Discussion Paper 16/6, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    2. Sara Amoroso & Pietro Moncada-Paternò-Castello & Antonio Vezzani, 2017. "R&D profitability: the role of risk and Knightian uncertainty," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 331-343, February.
    3. Bélyácz, Iván, 2013. "Várakozások, bizonytalanság, valószínűség. Értekezés a kockázat számszerűsítésének korlátairól
      [Expectations, uncertainty and probability. An assessment of the limits to the quantification of risk]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 749-780.
    4. Hodgson, Geoffrey M., 2013. "Observations on the legal theory of finance," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 331-337.

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