Articles & blogs on economics as a science

Category: economics as a science

On Coronavirus, Economists Think Differently to the ‘Common Sense’ Crowd

“Economists think differently – in a way that seems alien to the “common-sense” crowd. Seeing externalities everywhere right now, we think governments have a role in setting policy to try to maximise some form of social economic welfare in this crisis. This incorporates lives, of course, which we put a very high value on. But it also includes economic activity and the satisfaction people get from their lives. Losing these has real costs too. Economists aren’t queasy therefore about undertaking cost-benefit analyses of shutdowns, though they debate the assumptions used.”

The Most Persistent of All Zombie Ideas: That Taxing the Wealthy Is Destructive to the Economy

“Economics can’t tell you what values to have. It can, however, shed light on what to expect from policy that reflects any particular set of values, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman argues in his new book. Values, not rational ideas, polarized US politics: opponents of a larger role for government think that such a role is not just immoral but even destructive. And if the evidence doesn’t agree, they attack both the evidence and those producing it.”

Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events

“In Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events, Robert J. Shiller argues for the significance of narrative when it comes to understanding the drivers of economic events, arguing that contagious narratives not only play a causal role in their unfolding but also that such events transform our narratives. The book raises important issues, writes David Tuckett, yet the notion that individuals ‘catch’ narratives that go viral risks obscuring the more fundamental sense in which narrative imaginaries and fictional expectations shape how economic agents plan their futures.”

Psychologist Explains Why Economists—and Liberals—Get Human Nature Wrong

“For a fictional character, homo economicus has had a pretty good run. Since the 1950s, this mono-motivated, self-seeking figure has stalked the pages of economics textbooks, busy deciding each action according to a rational calculus of personal loss and gain. But more recently his territory has shrunk as experts on human nature have demonstrated what any decent novelist could have told them: our real selves are nothing like this.”

Sin and Vice Do not Belong in the GDP

“On a larger scale, international standards of measurement help economists develop monetary policy, make economic forecasts, and monitor growth. But greed, fraud, and theft can easily find their way into financial transactions. That is why economics must be subject to those higher normative sciences like ethics that regulate all human behavior.”

Greta Thunberg, Donald Trump, and the Future of Capitalism

“Some lament the Trump administration’s animosity toward young people and scientists who speak common sense about a massive threat that we should confront through global cooperation. But Trump and his cabal appear to understand something that their liberal detractors do not: Their politics is the only authentic defense of contemporary capitalism.”


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