Pluralism in Economics: A Public Good or a Public Bad?

Tinbergen Institute Working Paper No. 2003-034/1

25 Pages Posted: 28 May 2003

See all articles by Hendrik P. van Dalen

Hendrik P. van Dalen

Tilburg University, CentER; Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

Date Written: March 10, 2003


A pluralist approach to economics is both necessary from an academic as well a policy point of view. From an academic viewpoint pluralism can be understood as the outcome of competition and specialization in the search for new ideas that can deal with imperfections of the real world. From a policy point of view a diversity of view is also desirable as it helps to spread the risk of large mistakes in policy choices. However, the present-day teaching practices and textbooks are by and large not well suited to deal with a pluralist approach. Possible routes of that can help to enrich teaching and curricula are: (1) teaching the art of economic policy; (2) stress teaching economics by learning from the past; (3) teach by becoming imperialist so that a conversation between discipline gets underway; (4) merge business and general economics as the dividing line between the two is nowadays quite thin; (5) practice Reality Economics; and (6) teach basic principles (especially in the bachelors stage) in a 'Socratesian' manner, i.e. let students learn economics by doing (e.g. by experimental economics or interviewing businessmen).

Keywords: pluralism, teaching, innovation, economic methodology

JEL Classification: A2, B4, B5

Suggested Citation

van Dalen, Hendrik P., Pluralism in Economics: A Public Good or a Public Bad? (March 10, 2003). Tinbergen Institute Working Paper No. 2003-034/1, Available at SSRN: or

Hendrik P. Van Dalen (Contact Author)

Tilburg University, CentER ( email )

Tilburg University
P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, NL-5000 LE
+13 4668982 (Phone)


Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) ( email )

P.O. Box 11650
NL-2502 AR The Hague
+70 356 5237 (Phone)
+70 364 7187 (Fax)


Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics