Archive for April 13th, 2010

Via Mark Thoma, Adair Turner’s talk at INET railed against narrow-minded economics. Here are two excerpts, the first from the intro and the second from the conclusion:

And here, I suspect, lies the greatest challenge for new economic thinking. For while the simplified pre-crisis conventional wisdom appeared to provide a complete set of answers resting on a unified intellectual system and methodology, really good economic thinking will provide multiple partial insights, based on varied analytical approaches.

Good economics is inherently non-monolithic.

To sum up therefore, we need new economic thinking, but even more importantly, we need to ensure that the public policy debate is not constrained by acceptance of an over-simplified version of one strain in economic thinking, nor constrained by the assumption that evolved institutional structures are necessarily unchangeable, but open to the great variety of insights which good economics has always given us.

Of course, how far his statement gets us probably hinges on what one considers “good economics.” Turner doesn’t delve very far into specific methodological approaches. He discusses the work of Stiglitz, Akerlof, and Shiller, among others. These are obviously mainstream folks. While I support his overall sentiments, he leaves it unclear whether you must be part of the mainstream and use the mainstream toys to be considered a “good” economist.


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