Economic Writing on the Pressing Problems of the Day: The Roles of Moral Intuition and Methodological Confusion
La Revue de Philosophie Economique/Review of Economic Philosophy, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 37-68, December 2010
24 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2009 Last revised: 19 Nov 2011
Date Written: April 4, 2009
Economists are often called on to help address pressing problems of the day, yet many economists are uncomfortable about disclosing the values that they bring to this work. This essay explores how an inadequate understanding of the role of methodology, as related to ethics and human emotions of concern, underlies this reluctance and compromises the quality of economic advice. The tension between caring about the problems, on the one hand, and writing within the existing culture of the discipline, on the other, are illustrated with examples from U.S. policymaking, behavioral economics, and the economics of climate change and global poverty. Potential steps towards a more responsible, "strongly objective," and policy-useful economics are discussed.
Keywords: economics, ethics, policy, methodology, climate change, financial crisis, poverty, inequality, feminist economics
JEL Classification: A11, A13, D63, D64, B41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation