The rise of economics as engineering II: the case of MIT

Looming behind the aforementioned narratives of postwar economics is a notion – economics as engineering – which at times appears as a metaphor and at times stands for a straight depiction of economists' professional milieu and practices. Also, it is used to characterize both highly theoretical undertakings element and some everyday engagement with policy making. As exemplified by Mankiw's remark that, all but one top selling macro textbooks from the 1980s as well as the 2000s wee written by MIT economists, MIT is one relevant site for the investigation of the nature and significance of the “engineering” comparison. Read more

A chronology of economics at Carnegie (in progress)

To illustrate the previous post on the difficulties in putting together a chronology, here is tentative chronology of economics at Carnegie. It's still in process, and links, sources and entries will be updated as I read. Read more

On the difficulty of assembling a chronology and other F....moments in history of economics research

This year, I'm sharing an office with an econometrician on Mondays and with a geographer on Fridays (you don't want to go into the subtleties of the French educational system). We're discussing the content of our research and the strengths and weaknesses in our respective methodologies, and, of course, joking and complaining about the sociology of our communities. Read more

Keynesianism, neoliberalism and the 'Dissemination' of Economic Ideas: That's the Way of the World.

It is often argued that in recent years the question of the 'dissemination' of economic knowledge has been increasingly addressed by historians of economics. However, as our buddy Tiago has noted on the previous version of this blog quite some time ago, historians seem to not really know what they're talking about when they talk about 'dissemination'. In fact, I would argue that most accounts of the history of science - and therefore, of economics - should deal with the question of dissemination, as science itself is "a form of communicative action" (Secord, 2004). Read more

Voth vs. Ferguson: And How Austerity Leads to Worse Outcomes

At dinner yesterday Niall Ferguson made the argument that China (or the East) were perhaps no longer looking to how Western countries had built their social institutions and formed their empires, and were instead now doing their own thing as the Western approach was shown to be flawed. Hans-Joachim Voth pulled Ferguson up on this in a seeming contradiction, as Ferguson is apt to argue that the legacy of empire - particularly the British - is the basis of most of the good institutions in the lucky ex-British colonies. So which is it? Read more

Japan's Money Base Will Be 45% of GDP: US and UK is 19%-21%

Japan is going to double its money supply, according to today's front page of the Financial Times (5 April 2013), and a salient question might be what we should compare that to. It sounds like a lot, but is it?

Grabbing our trusty GDP yardstick, we grabbed some quick monetary base numbers from the US, UK and Japan, doubled today's Japanese figure, picked up the exchange rate from Google, and projected a 2% growth rate on the Japanes GDP figures. And the answer is yes, it is a big deal: Read more

I like IKE

Imperfect knowledge economics, or IKE to their friends, is popular with all the popular kids. George Soros, Bill Janeway and Anatole Kaletsky were in attendance as Roman Frydman and Michael Goldberg - or more properly, their students - showed the latest work in progress. Read more

Where the World Economic Association Started

Having lunch next to Edward Fullbrook he told me the story of how the post-autistic economic review got its start, leading to what we today know as the World Economic Association and all the great work coming from this community.

Back in 1999 Edward was at a conference in Cambridge and talked to attendees about the French movement to bring economics back to a more realistic starting point, and the great success the French students had in getting media attention. Attendees were not, as it turned out, convinced that this was even happening. Not to be dissuaded, Edward set up an anonymous e-mail address after the conference and wrote an anonymous e-mail to the 99 conference attendees informing them again about what had happened in France. Read more