Formalism and Contemporary Economics
Critical Review, Vol. 12, Nos. 1 & 2, pp. 173-186, 1998
15 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2010
Date Written: 1998
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: Suggested Citation