36 Pages Posted: 21 May 2016 Last revised: 11 Nov 2016
Date Written: October 2016
This paper challenges the widely held notion that the developments in computing are sufficient to explain the recent turn to applied economics. Developments in computer hardware were undoubtedly important. Yet, economists' appropriation of the new techniques allowed by computerization were highly selective, and influenced by the development of software and ties with other scientific communities, by the availability of business and governmental data, by salesmanship to policy-makers, and by how epistemologically acceptable these approaches were made to other economists. In particular, theoretical work was not be transformed by computers the way it was in physics or biology. We conjecture that the most profound effect of the increased availability of computers may have been to challenge the demarcation between theory and applied work.
Keywords: Computers, Information Technology, Economics, Econometrics, Applied Economics, Software, Simulation
JEL Classification: B20, B23, B40, C00, C63
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Backhouse, Roger and Cherrier, Beatrice, 'It's Computerization, Stupid!' The Spread of Computers and the Changing Roles of Theoretical and Applied Economics (October 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2781253 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2781253