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The Financial Crisis and the Systemic Failure of Academic Economics


  • David Colander
  • Hans Föllmer
  • Armin Haas
  • Michael Goldberg
  • Katarina Juselius
  • Alan Kirman
  • Thomas Lux
  • Brigitte Sloth


The economics profession appears to have been unaware of the long build-up to the current worldwide financial crisis and to have significantly underestimated its dimensions once it started to unfold. In our view, this lack of understanding is due to a misallocation of research efforts in economics. We trace the deeper roots of this failure to the profession’s insistence on constructing models that, by design, disregard the key elements driving outcomes in real-world markets. The economics profession has failed in communicating the limitations, weaknesses, and even dangers of its preferred models to the public. This state of affairs makes clear the need for a major reorientation of focus in the research economists undertake, as well as for the establishment of an ethical code that would ask economists to understand and communicate the limitations and potential misuses of their models

Suggested Citation

  • David Colander & Hans Föllmer & Armin Haas & Michael Goldberg & Katarina Juselius & Alan Kirman & Thomas Lux & Brigitte Sloth, 2009. "The Financial Crisis and the Systemic Failure of Academic Economics," Kiel Working Papers 1489, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1489

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    More about this item


    financial crisis; academic moral hazard; ethic responsibility of researchers;

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets

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