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Grounded in Methodology, Certified by Journals: The Rise and Evolution of a Mainstream in Economics

Author

Listed:
  • Michel De Vroey

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))

  • Luca Pensieroso

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))

Abstract

In this paper, we introduce a new understanding of the mainstream notion in economics. Its distinct character is based on a set of methodological standards deemed compulsory in the theoretical or empirical practice of the discipline. We contend that a theoretical mainstream arose around the 1980s, when the prevailing methodological standards in microeconomics and game theory – mathematical language, equilibrium discipline, and ‘explicit micro-foundations’ – came to be adopted in theoretical papers across a wide range of fields and specializations. We further argue that the 1990 period witnessed the surge of a distinct empirical mainstream and the emergence of a joint mainstream, the result of the rise of experimental economics and a renewal of applied economics centered on the notion of causal inference. An examination of the contents of the articles published in top journals in selected years from 1970 to 2018 confirms our contention.

Suggested Citation

  • Michel De Vroey & Luca Pensieroso, 2021. "Grounded in Methodology, Certified by Journals: The Rise and Evolution of a Mainstream in Economics," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2021015, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2021015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mainstream; Neoclassical approach; Experimental economics; Causal inference; Methodology;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments

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