Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Simon Wren-Lewis — Being honest about ideological influence in economics

Good one!
Yet I suspect there is a reluctance among the majority of economists to admit that some among them may not be following the scientific method but may instead be making choices on ideological grounds. This is the essence of Romer’s critique, first in his own area of growth economics and then for business cycle analysis. Denying or marginalising the problem simply invites critics to apply to the whole profession a criticism that only applies to a minority.
The problem is that this minority is a powerful one and the economics profession is not run democratically but by established and entrenched elites, whether they be "freshwater" or "saltwater."

Mainly Macro
Being honest about ideological influence in economics
Simon Wren-Lewis | Professor of Economics, Oxford University


André said...

I don't agree that there is a "reluctance to admit" ideology.

For that, one would have first to understand the difference between "scientific methods" and "ideological grounds".

Most economists do believe that what they are doing is real science and so they don't see reason to "admit" anything.

This is a problem of blindness, not a problem of honesty. Eocnomists simply are unable to see the problems in their traditinal models.

Matt Franko said...

"This is a problem of blindness, not a problem of honesty."

They haven't been trained correctly....

André said...

Yes, they haven't been trained correctly.

Their teachers were also blind, that's why.

And the teachers of the teachers also were blind. That's what you have in embryonic "sciences". Maybe physics was like this once.

But today there is crictical thinking and scientific method. Maybe if these subjects were better taught, knowledge would be more advanced... At least people would know they were blind, that's a start...

Postkey said...

Inductive methodology {as 'used' by the natural sciences and most scientific disciplines} is the basis of this economist's approach.

"The critics of neoclassical economics agree that economics should be about economic reality and should be demonstrably relevant to it. This will strike the non-economist as obvious. However, it is not obvious in mainstream economic thinking: the neoclassical school of thought is based on the deductive approach. This methodology argues that knowledge is brought about by starting with axioms that are not derived from empirical evidence, to which theoretical assumptions are added (again not empirically backed), and on the basis of which tools of logic (mathematics) are utilized to prove theoretical results. There is an alternative approach. This approach examines reality, identifies important facts and patterns, and then attempts to explain them, using logic, in the form of theories. These theories are then tested and modified as needed, in order to be most consistent with the facts of reality. This methodology is called inductivism."