26 May 2019

Twelve Sins Of Economics As A Discipline

What does economics as a discipline do poorly?

1. Fails to make clear that maximizing efficiency and aggregate output are not the only or most important goals for economic policy.

2. Fails to clarify the extent to which there are important differences between GDP and aggregate well being.

3. Fails to clarify the extent to which different components of economic theory are more or less strongly validated empirically (e.g., to explain the high levels of inaccuracy involved in macroeconomic models).

4. It overemphasizes the importance of monetary policy.

5. It overemphasizes the value of mathematical models (especially in macroeconomics).

6. Fails explore the pervasiveness of price discrimination in a laissez faire economic system and the implications of this realty.

7. Focuses too much on theory and too little on a descriptive account of how the economy, in general, works in reality. This has many dimensions to it.

8. It fails to develop a sound understanding of how important classes of business transactions are conducted in reality.

9.  It underemphasizes economic history and comparative economics.

10. Fails to adequately develop the interplay between culture, technology, policy and access to resources in economic development.

11. It underemphasizes the importance of economic decision making not made in markets conducted in price denominated transactions; in particular underemphasizing decisions made within households and families, within large firms, and between firms acting in an oligopoly context.

12. Fails to sufficiently explore the ways in which a rational actor model of economic decision making is flawed in systemic ways, and the implications of these facts.

There are some people who are economists who don't fall prey to any one of these particular shortcomings, but the discipline as a whole has these biases and introductory economics instruction has these flaws.

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