Thursday, 24 July 2014

Theoretical v. applied economics

"Then, as now, applied economists, “realitics”, as Sir John Clapham called them, and theoretical economists (‘analytics’) were often a race apart who neither properly understood nor appreciated each other’s roles and approaches. Then, as now, views differed on whether or not theory had to be directly applicable in explanations of ‘real world’ observations and much misunderstanding occurred because the separation between logically coherent ‘high theory’ in its own domain and, a separate issue, its direct applicability, was not made by protagonists in an argument. Or, if it were, one side would be concerned with the former, the other with the latter, without either making this understanding explicit."
(Stephanie Blankenburg and Geoffrey Harcourt (2007), ‘The Debates on the Representative Firm and Increasing Returns: Then and Now’ In Philip Arestis, Michelle Baddelely and John S. L. McCombie (eds), Economic Growth, New Directions in Theory and Policy, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 44–64.)

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