Beauty and the Economist: The Role of Aesthetics in Economic Theory
Posted: 24 Feb 2020
The importance of aesthetic considerations is widely acknowledged in mathematics and the natural sciences. Beauty motivates mathematical and scientific discoveries and serves as a criterion for their acceptance by the scientific community. In contrast, there is little attention to beauty in the models, theorems and other objects of economic theory. This holds even though mathematics is an important tool of economic analysis. The pure theory of international trade provides useful examples to discuss the role of aesthetics in economic theory. The central feature of the discipline of economics which distinguishes it from the natural sciences and appears to explain the paucity of beauty in economics is that economic models lack generality.
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