Formalism and Contemporary Economics

Critical Review, Vol. 12, Nos. 1 & 2, pp. 173-186, 1998

15 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2010

See all articles by Peter J. Boettke

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: 1998

Abstract

Economic formalism crowds out the analysis of change and adjustments to change under capitalism. They style of analytical narrative that was practiced by the first generation of neoclassical economists, in contrast, is more productive of genuine economic understanding. Despite Daniel Hausman's challenging argument to the contrary, I maintain that Joseph Stiglitz's work is formalist at its core. While I agree with Robert Heilbroner's critique of contemporary economics, there is a limited sense in which nonformalist economics can rely on universalistic assumptions. And Thomas Mayer has provided useful guidelines for focusing nonformalist analysis on real-world economic problems.

JEL Classification: B41, B53

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J., Formalism and Contemporary Economics (1998). Critical Review, Vol. 12, Nos. 1 & 2, pp. 173-186, 1998. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1531078

Peter J. Boettke (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1149 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

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