This paper argues that by focusing on simple problems that can be resolved by the use of simple economic logic, usually involving the assumption that agents are rational, the economics-as-fun literature inevitably distracts from more difficult problems that are harder to solve and which may need to be tackled in different ways and may create a bias towards solutions that rely on the market.
This essay addresses the question, raised by Frank Hahn, of whether the study, by economists, of economic methodology is in practice beneficial. After considering what this statement could mean, and discussing the example of Lionel Robbins, it draws a number of conclusions: that methodological statements have unintended, context-dependent consequences, and that these may result from factors that should have nothing to do with economics.
An introduction to the last article on which Terence Hutchison worked, now published under the title, ?A formative decade: methodological controversy in the 1930s?, explaining what is known about its writing, and a brief summary of such biographical information and information about his work as is necessary to understand its significance.
Traditionally, evidence in economics has been seen in the context of theory choice. Much of recent methodological debate on the role of evidence has turned on the recognition that the status and role of evidence is somewhat more involved in economics than the conventional wisdom suggests. Rather than approaching this question in general terms from a starting point of philosophy of science or even science studies, our aim in this introduction to a symposium of articles on evidence in economics is (...) to approach the question from the perspective of applied economics. (shrink)
This paper responds to the argument, made by many heterodox economists, that equilibrium theory should be abandoned in favor of theories that pay more attention to history. It considers some of the main ways in which the concept of equilibrium has been understood in economics, and the reasons why there has been confusion in discussions of equilibrium. The conclusion is drawn that the focus should be less on equilibrium as a concept than on equilibrium analysis as a method, and limited (...) defense of this method is offered. (shrink)
This survey of the symposium papers argues that the problem of data mining should be of interest to both practicing econometricians and specialists in economic methodology. After summarizing some of the main points to arise in the symposium, it draws on recent work in the philosophy of science to point to parallels between data mining and practices engaged in routinely by experimental scientists. These suggest that data mining might be seen in a more positive light than conventional doubts about it (...) imply. (shrink)