Category: Economics as a Science

Morality: The New Way to Understand Economic Decisions

“For the last few decade’s there has been a clearly dominant perspective – at least in the UK and US – that the efficiency and prosperity driven by ‘economic man’ (an ideal person who acts rationally and with complete knowledge) and unfettered markets will deliver for the common good. But there is increasing evidence that this belief may be unfounded (or at least comes with significant downsides for large parts of society). There are alternatives, however, and the SOE framework helps us think through these.”

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How We Create and Destroy Growth: The 2018 Nobel Laureates

“The 2018 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences has been awarded jointly to William Nordhaus for ‘integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis’, and to Paul Romer for ‘integrating technological innovations into long-run macroeconomic analysis’. This column outlines their work and the connections between them. Both have at their core the longstanding problem of economic growth: why are some places and times rich and others poor, and what is the impact of these differences?”

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Money and the Unflappable Economist

“At the beginning of May 2018, there was a brief furor over donations from Koch family-affiliated philanthropies to fund the Mercatus Institute and the newly-named Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University (GMU). […] I shall argue instead that this event has more structural underpinnings, touching upon the very conception of education in relation to markets, and involve some crucial aspects of economic theory.”

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Secret Men’s Business – Why the Public Image of Economics is Bad News for All of Us

“What is economics all about? Ask a person in the street and the most likely answer will be along the lines of “economics is about money, earning money, something similar to business and finance”. But economics is more than just the study of money – there is a whole other side of economics that many people have never thought of. It is time we spread this message to attract more students, especially women and those from minority backgrounds, into economics.”

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Economists Focus Too Little on What People Really Care About

“A Cynic, says one of Oscar Wilde’s characters, is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. But, as philosophers have long known, assigning values to things or situations is fraught. Like the cynic, economists often assume that prices are all anyone needs to know. This biases many of their conclusions, and limits their relevance to some of the most serious issues facing humanity.”

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Few Things Are as Dangerous as Economists with Physics Envy

“Two questions: is it good or bad that professional athletes earn 400 times what nurses do, and is string theory a dead end? Each question goes to the heart of its discipline. Yet while you probably answered the first, you’d hold an opinion on the prospects of string theory only if you’ve studied physics. That annoys economists, who wonder why everyone feels free to join economic debates instead of leaving them to the experts, as they do with physics or medicine.”

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The Real Adam Smith

“f you’ve heard of one economist, it’s likely to be Adam Smith. He’s the best-known of all economists, and is typically hailed as the founding father of the dismal science itself. Furthermore, he’s usually portrayed as not only an early champion of economic theory, but of the superiority of markets over government planning. In other words, Smith is now known both as the founder of economics, and as an ideologue for the political Right. Yet, despite being widely believed, both these claims are at best misleading, and at worst outright false.”

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