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What is Heterodox Economics? Conversations with Historians of Economic Thought


  • Mary Wrenn



Since its intellectual inception, the development of the economics discipline has been accompanied by divergence of thought. Through the years, particularly in the latter half of the twentieth century, a fissure has emerged within the discipline, sociologically dividing conventional, mainstream economics from the dissention of heterodox economics. The nature of that division, however, as well as the nature of heterodox thought is unclear. Historians of economic thought would seem to be uniquely suited to specify the nature of heterodox economics and the mechanism of its marginalization. Although anecdotal, personal interviews with historians of economic thought provide a breadth and depth of study not available through surveys with an immediacy not allowed by doctrinal examination. The purpose of this study and intent of this paper is to reveal the ways that orthodox and heterodox economics differ, whether heterodox economics has any clear research program other than criticizing the limits of the more orthodox view, and what aspects of heterodox economics remain underdeveloped, all through the lens of the historian of economic thought.
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Suggested Citation

  • Mary Wrenn, 2007. "What is Heterodox Economics? Conversations with Historians of Economic Thought," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 36(2), pages 97-108, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:fosoec:v:36:y:2007:i:2:p:97-108 DOI: 10.1007/s12143-007-9002-5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blaug,Mark, 1997. "Economic Theory in Retrospect," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521577014, December.
    2. Backhouse, Roger E., 2004. "A Suggestion for Clarifying the Study of Dissent in Economics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(02), pages 261-271, June.
    3. Screpanti, Ernesto & Zamagni, Stefano, 2005. "An Outline of the History of Economic Thought," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780199279142.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andreia Tolciu, 2010. "The Economics of Social Interactions: An Interdisciplinary Ground for Social Scientists?," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 39(3), pages 223-242, October.
    2. repec:mje:mjejnl:v:11:y:2015:i:1:p:53-67 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Marc Hayford & Anastasios Malliaris, 2010. "Asset Prices and the Financial Crisis of 2007--09: An Overview of Theories and Policies," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 279-286.
    4. Marc Lavoie, 2014. "Post-Keynesian Economics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 12857, April.


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