'Heterodox economics' and the problems of classification

Journal of Economic Methodology 19 (4):407-424 (2012)
Abstract
This paper discusses classification in Economics via the case of ?heterodox economics (HE)?. It argues that the debate over HE reflects several important methodological issues: the need and motives for classification, and its consequences; dualism; and simplicity versus complexity. It presents four types of treatment of HE, which usually reach different conclusions about it. The paper argues that intellectual treatments suffer from problems of dualism: frequently offering strict, fixed, simple definitions of HE that are difficult to defend, especially in the light of recent developments in economics. For these reasons, sociological and psychological treatments have become preferred. These appear to avoid the problems faced by intellectual definitions and reflect existing social groups in economics. However, it is argued that these definitions are conceptually empty, still prone to dualism and reification. It is argued that all definitions reflect the sociology of the profession: dualist definitions of heterodoxy reflect interpretations of power structures within economics. Overall, definitions of HE should be multi-faceted, temporary and perhaps even purposefully vague
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References found in this work BETA
Brian J. Loasby (2003). Closed Models and Open Systems. Journal of Economic Methodology 10 (3):285-306.
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