Archive for the ‘Philosophy of economics’ Category

Last Friday, I saw « Marx reloaded » in a smallish, convivial cinema room at ICA in London. A thought-provoking documentary, starting straight from the right questions: now that we are facing the worst economic and financial crisis in 70 years, are we still sure our way of organising production and exchange is the best available? Alternatives […]

Do economists, as a professional community, behave like sheep -all following the sheepdog? Or like fish, moving altogether in schools? However bizarre these analogies might seem at first sight, they have been applied successfully to finance, where the concept of “herding behaviour” denotes cases in which a majority of traders adopt a shared, or very similar, pathway. It […]

Of all the economic bubbles … few have burst more spectacularly than the reputation of economics itself. So wrote The Economist in July 2009, commenting on the financial crisis. In the last few years, many have pointed their fingers at the discipline and its incapacity to predict the crisis, let alone to devise remedies for […]

Would you believe that one would invest years of time and energy to study an older economics writer in the hope to get the Nobel Prize? Well, that sounds pretty unlikely… Everyone in the history of economics community complains that the field is so disregarded these days. The Nobel prize, don’t even think about it. […]

Would it be reasonable for a social scientist to study human behaviours and interactions under the assumption that people make choices at random –that is, they just pick up an option from a given probability distribution? Few social scientists would go as far as to think this could be a realistic representation of how we […]

Having just reviewed “Poor Economics“, a new book by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo (high on my reading list…), The Economist is hosting a debate inviting prominent economists to discuss the question of whether randomised trials can be regarded as the future of economics. The debate is definitely interesting and the viewpoints expressed quite relevant. […]

In the media and public opinion, economics is not immediately related to the personal, intimate sphere. Economics has to do with competition, inflation, unemployment, crisis. Or so the saying goes. However, a closer look reveals that the discipline has by and large moved away from its traditionally narrow focus to encompass a much wider range […]

Today, the history of economic thought is attracting renewed attention from public opinion and the media. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, many are dusting off Keynes and the forms of government intervention he inspired in the 1950s-60s. Do they offer lessons that could still be valuable today, as faith in the virtues of […]

Interface 4


Just come back from the 4th edition of the “Interface between economic theory and history of theories” workshop. It all started with an initiative by Michel De Vroey in Louvain in 2007, I then contributed to  making it a regular  event by organising the 2nd edition in Paris two years ago. This year, the event […]

A new blog post by Martin Ravallion of the World Bank proposes a new way in which research done there may support developing countries. Instead of a traditional “retailing model” under which researchers investigate a specific issue in a given setting and period of time, and produce findings for use in that context, he promotes […]


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