Encouraging a Productive Research Agenda: Peter Boettke and the Devil's Test

Journal of Private Enterprise, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 103-115, 2010

Posted: 5 Jul 2011  

Diana Weinert Thomas

Creighton University

Michael D. Thomas

Utah State University - Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Peter Boettke is the single most effective graduate mentor in the Austrian economics tradition today. One of the many teaching tools Boettke uses is the devil’s test. The test is an effective teaching tool because it clarifies what the goals of the political economist as critic can be. Boettke teaches his students that much can be done to clarify the logic of incentives, which in turn clarifies the debate in political advocacy. We argue that the devil’s test is a good example of how Boettke enables students to become not only effective teachers but also productive scholars. The analytical framework of the heuristic enables students to analyze complex policy questions in a rigorous way. Many of Boettke’s students have successfully used the distinction between motivational assumptions and causal processes, which is implicit in the devil’s test, in their research.

Keywords: Teaching economics, Austria,; Normative, Welfare economics

JEL Classification: A20, B25, D63

Suggested Citation

Thomas, Diana Weinert and Thomas, Michael D., Encouraging a Productive Research Agenda: Peter Boettke and the Devil's Test (2010). Journal of Private Enterprise, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 103-115, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1878647

Diana Weinert Thomas (Contact Author)

Creighton University ( email )

2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
United States

Michael D. Thomas

Utah State University - Jon M. Huntsman School of Business ( email )

3565 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.michaeldthomas.com

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