Successes and failures in the transformation of economics
While acknowledging the successes of modern economics, this paper concentrates on some shortcomings. Many are traced to a single source: the great insights of economics are all qualitative. Economics does not have a theoretical structure that is tightly related to a rich body of data and those seeking to contribute to its ideas operate on widely divergent levels of theoretical and empirical sophistication with little communication between those who operate at different levels. One consequence is that anomalies are tolerated on a scale that would be scandalous in any natural science. Another is that theories tend to be developed in unconstrained ways that are empirically relevant only by accident. Elegant error is often preferred to messy truth. Theoretical tractability is often preferred to empirical relevance. Economists often prefer theories that produce unambiguous policy results over theories that do not, irrespective of their relative evidential bases.
Volume (Year): 8 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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