Blogs

A History of the JEL Codes: Should There be a Separate "Economic Theory" Category? [Part 2]

 I've been toying with the disappearance of the Theory category for a while, yet it is still unclear to me how the story below should be interpreted. Does it reflect a change in the pecking order between theory and empirical work, as once suggested by Krugman? A change in theoretical work itself? And if so, how to characterize it? The requirement that applications should be built in theoretical thinking ('applied theory')? Or the standard that a theoretical intuition be presented alongside application/ empirical work in scholarly articles? Read more

Adam Smith's first - and last! - book: what rational choice?

Penguin's 250th anniversary editionI was going to call this blog post 'Utility maximising agents in Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments' but realised that was much too dull - even if it accurately describes my bedtime reading at the present moment. The intention with this, and a series of blog posts, will be to share my on-going reading of the theory of moral sentiments, and this first post is about the first chapters on sympathy in particular. Read more

A History of the JEL Codes: Classifying Economics During the War [Part 1]

In the spring of 1940, as the war in Europe escalated and the likelihood of American involvement grew greater and greater, scientists understood that they would soon be drafted to help national defense planning. In an effort to control the process, several scholarly oriented institutions, including the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies recommended the establishment of “a national agency for the registry and procurement of scientific personnel.” Christened the National Roster of Scientific and Specialized Personnel, the governmental organization set out to send a general questionnaire and a disciplinary “technical check list” of subject matters to all scientists in the country. Read more

The IMF and Human Development: Little Progress and Worrisome Trends

By Alexander E. Kentikelenis, Thomas H. Stubbs, and Lawrence P. King

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank celebrate their 70th anniversary this year, yet few countries have been eager to join the festivities. Read more

Nobel Win Doesn’t Equate To Policy Prescriptions

The “keys under the streetlight story” is well known among economists, but in case you haven’t heard it, it goes like this.

A person is walking home late at night and notices an economist searching under a streetlight for his keys. The person stops to help. After searching a while without luck the person asks the economist where he lost his keys. The economist points far off into the dark abyss, to which the person responds incredulously, “Then why the heck are you searching here?” To which the economist responds: “This is where the light is.”

Critics of economics like this joke because it nicely captures what they see as the limitations of economists’ overly mathematical and technical methods. Read more

New Economic Thinking for an Evolving Financial System

A conference organized by INET's Young Scholars Initiative

Amsterdam, November 10-11

The global financial system has evolved over the past decades into a vastly complex architecture. As economists, our understanding of the inner workings of the system is limited and often incoherent.  Read more

The man who will not win the Nobel

Last Spring Larry Summers wounded Thomas Piketty in a friendly embrace. In a review of Capital in the Twenty-first century, Summers praised Piketty’s contributions in data mining and analysis and in a flight of enthusiasm he deemed the contributions deserving of a Nobel. Read more