Possibilities for a Non-Quantitative-Dependent Economics:The Plurality of Methods facing the Dominance of Econometrics
Economics lives a moment where the dominant paradigm, based in neoclassical and rational choice ideas, seems very limited to comprehend the complexity of the reality. Economists and Economics are being severely criticized by their exaggerated use of mathematical formalization. It is important to stress that today, on the mainstream point of view, there is no other Economics (as a scientific field) unless the one which develops models with a strong emphasis on quantitative analysis to understand the economic mechanisms. Summing to this more theoretical debate a central practical question emerges: Economics is the science that is today being accused of supporting and legitimating free-market policies that have conducted to current global crisis, in particular with the deregulation of financial markets. Today econometrics, seen as dominant in terms of applicability, accuracy and efficiency, is widely used – other methods have been reduced to marginal contributions. But criticisms to econometrics are becoming extremely loud and consistent. Econometricians behave as if their techniques were universal when in fact they are not. If alternative methods are accepted, one can largely eliminate the restrictions and distance to the reality of econometrics. The current article debates the pathways for a Satisfactory Economics in a context where theoretical and methodological pluralism is entering even in mainstream ideas. It is presented the historical construction of econometrics as the main method in Economics and the limitations and possibilities of this tool are explored. Finally the need of pluralism is underlined. It is especially important when the techniques are very different and address different angles to a complex research problem. The working table of the applied economist should be prepared to benefit from all the complementarities of the various methods
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