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Becoming Applied: The Transformation of Economics after 1970

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  • Roger E. Backhouse
  • Beatrice Cherrier

Abstract

Abstract: This paper conjectures that economics has changed profoundly since the 1970s and that these changes involve a new understanding of the relationship between theoretical and applied work. Drawing on an analysis of John Bates Clark medal winners, it is suggested that the discipline became more applied, applied work be ing accorded a higher st atus in relation to pure theory than was previously the case. Discussing new types of applied work, the changing context of applied work, and new sites for applied work, the paper outlines a research agenda that will test the conjecture that there has been a changed understanding of the nature of applied work and hence of economics itself.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger E. Backhouse & Beatrice Cherrier, 2014. "Becoming Applied: The Transformation of Economics after 1970," Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper Series 2014-15, Center for the History of Political Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hec:heccee:2014-15
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    File URL: http://hope.econ.duke.edu/node/1057
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2010. "The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design Is Taking the Con out of Econometrics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 3-30, Spring.
    2. Evelyn L. Forget, 2004. "Contested Histories of an Applied Field: The Case of Health Economics," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 36(4), pages 617-637, Winter.
    3. Roger E. Backhouse & Steven G. Medema, 2009. "Retrospectives: On the Definition of Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 221-233, Winter.
    4. Backhouse,Roger E., 2010. "The Puzzle of Modern Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521532617, May.
    5. repec:aea:jeclit:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:545-79 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Michele Alacevich, 2009. "The Political Economy of the World Bank : The Early Years," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13807.
    7. Rutherford,Malcolm, 2013. "The Institutionalist Movement in American Economics, 1918–1947," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107626089, May.
    8. Philippe Mongin, 1992. "The “Full-Cost” Controversy of the 1940s and 1950s: A Methodological Assessment," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 311-356, Summer.
    9. H. Spencer Banzhaf, 2009. "Objective or Multi-Objective? Two Historically Competing Visions for Benefit-Cost Analysis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 85(1), pages 3-23.
    10. Roger E. Backhouse & Jeff Biddle, 2000. "The Concept of Applied Economics: A History of Ambiguity and Multiple Meanings," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 32(5), pages 1-24, Supplemen.
    11. Leontief, Wassily, 1971. "Theoretical Assumptions and Nonobserved Facts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 1-7, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cedrini, Mario & Fontana, Magda, 2015. "Mainstreaming. Reflections on the Origins and Fate of Mainstream Pluralism," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201510, University of Turin.
    2. Cedrini, Mario & Magda, Fontana, 2017. "Just Another Niche in the Wall? How Specialization Is Changing the Face of Mainstream Economics," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201706, University of Turin.
    3. Jeff E. Biddle & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2016. "Theory and Measurement: Emergence, Consolidation and Erosion of a Consensus," NBER Working Papers 22253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Joshua Angrist & Pierre Azoulay & Glenn Ellison & Ryan Hill & Susan Feng Lu, 2017. "Inside Job or Deep Impact? Using Extramural Citations to Assess Economic Scholarship," NBER Working Papers 23698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Applied economics; theory; Clark Medal; JEL codes; core; policy; computation; data; econometrics;

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • C00 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - General

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