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Lucas on the relationship between theory and ideology

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  • De Vroey, Michel

Abstract

This paper concerns a neglected aspect of Lucas's work: his methodological writings, published and unpublished. Particular attention is paid to his views on the relationship between theory and ideology. I start by setting out Lucas's non-standard conception of theory: to him, a theory and a model are the same thing. I also explore the different facets and implications of this conception. In the next two sections, I debate whether Lucas adheres to two methodological principles that I dub the 'non-interference' precept (the proposition that ideological viewpoints should not influence theory), and the 'non-exploitation' precept (that the models' conclusions should not be transposed into policy recommendations, in so far as these conclusions are built into the models' premises). The last part of the paper contains my assessment of Lucas's ideas. First, I bring out the extent to which Lucas departs from the view held by most specialized methodologists. Second, I wonder whether the new classical revolution resulted from a political agenda. Third and finally, I claim that the tensions characterizing Lucas's conception of theory follow from his having one foot in the neo-Walrasian and the other in the Marshallian-Friedmanian universe.

Suggested Citation

  • De Vroey, Michel, 2011. "Lucas on the relationship between theory and ideology," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 5, pages 1-39.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifweej:20114
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5018/economics-ejournal.ja.2011-4
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/44434/1/64737451X.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michel, DE VROEY, 2005. "Involuntary Unemployment : the Elusive Quest for a Theory," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005004, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    2. Michel De Vroey, 2012. "Marshall and Walras: Incompatible bedfellows?," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 765-783.
    3. Michel DE VROEY, 2010. "Lucas on the Lucasian transformation of macroeconomics: an assessment," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2010032, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    4. Michel, DE VROEY, 2004. "On the Right Side for the Wrong Reason : Friedman on the Marshall-Walras divide," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2004015, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
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    Cited by:

    1. Marchionatti, Roberto & Sella, Lisa, 2015. "Is Neo-Walrasian Macroeconomics a Dead End?," CESMEP Working Papers 201502, University of Turin.
    2. Marchionatti, Roberto & Sella, Lisa, 2015. "Is Neo-Walrasian Macroeconomics a Dead End?," CESMEP Working Papers 201502, University of Turin.
    3. Samuel DANTHINE & Michel DE VROEY, 2014. "Integrating search in macroeconomics: the defining years," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2014013, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    4. Michel DE VROEY, 2010. "Lucas on the Lucasian transformation of macroeconomics: an assessment," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2010032, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Lucas; new classical macroeconomics; methodology;

    JEL classification:

    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)

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