Thursday, 3 April 2008


There is a blog soc2econ which is run by "... a group of sociologists trying to save economics from itself". May be it could be pointed out to these guys that economics doesn't need saving from itself. Also given my quick read of the site I'm not sure what they know about economics.

The Economic Logician goes further and makes comments on a number of points the site makes:
Economists barely do a literature review in their papers. Fair, economists know little about their previous generation, but that is also because the tool set has changed (for the better), we have learned a lot in the meanwhile, and some problems where simply not addressed forty years ago. I would rather argue that this obsessions with literature reviews that sociologists have is not moving research much forward, but rather in circles.

Neo-classical economics works on perfect information. Only on problems where imperfect information is not critical to answering the research question. There is ample literature that deals with imperfect information, in fact this is what all of game theory, principal-agent theory, and much of industrial organization, contract theory, law and economics, public economics and even macroeconomics is about!

The core of PhD schooling is not history of economic thought. While is it certainly interesting to learn how Economics got to where it is now, Economics is about concrete current problems, not philosophizing about past motivations of scholars with limited tools and data. Not disrespect to scholars of economic thought, but solving development problems does not hinge of our understanding of the debate between Ricardo and Malthus.


shakha said...

Indeed. You might note that that the blog was released on April 1. The idea was hatched here.

Paul Walker said...

And here was me thinking all of sociology had to be thought up on April 1st!

Falafulu Fisi said...

The following is a cut & paste from the the the post title :

The problem with literature reviews in economics

Sociology has a far superior system in which every single article is prefaced by an exhaustive review of the relevant literature, plus as many tangentially related literatures as possible.

That is correct. The reason Sociology is superior because all they do is studying of how to clean a toilet and collect rubbish. So, Sociologists spend their time reviewing articles in nothing else but toilet cleaning & rubbish collection.