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Archive for August 17th, 2009

Via Mark Thoma, Richard Posner points to another rejoinder to the letter from two LSE economists, which apologized to Her Majesty but essentially kicked the can down the road. I posted a few weeks back about Thomas Palley’s response to the Besley/Hennessey letter.

Now, in the new rejoinder, ten British and Australian economists point out in a similar fashion the complacency reflected by Besley/Hennessey. They first state that the letter is flawed because it, “fails to acknowledge any defiency in the training or culture of economists themselves.”

They point out that although many Nobel laureates have identified the problem of increased mathematization and model fetishism, “too little has been done to rectify this problem.”

In summary,

Models and techniques are important. But given the complexity of the global economy what is needed is a broader range of models and techniques governed by a far greater repsect for substance, and much more attention to historical, institutional, psychological, and other relevant factors.

Maybe I’m just in a good mood, but the chorus is growing louder for real change in economics disciplines. Perhaps a tidal change might save the heterodox department at Notre Dame, or make earning a PhD from UMass Amherst “respectable.” Or maybe not.

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