Variety of Methodological Approach in Economics

19 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2007

See all articles by Sheila C. Dow

Sheila C. Dow

University of Stirling - Department of Economics; University of Victoria - Faculty of Business


It has been argued by some that the distinction between orthodox economics and heterodox economics does not fit the growing variety in economic theory, unified by a common methodological approach. On the other hand, it remains a central characteristic of heterodox economics that it does not share this methodological approach, but rather represents a range of alternative methodological approaches. The paper explores the evidence, and arguments, for variety in economics at different levels, and a range of issues which arise. This requires in turn a discussion of the meaning of variety in economics at the different levels of reality, methodology, method and theory. It is concluded that there is scope for more, rather than less, variety in economic methodologies, as well as within methodologies. Further, if variety is not to take the form of 'anything goes', then critical discussion by economists of different approaches to economics, and of variety itself, is required.

Suggested Citation

Dow, Sheila C., Variety of Methodological Approach in Economics. Journal of Economic Surveys, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 447-465, July 2007. Available at SSRN: or

Sheila C. Dow (Contact Author)

University of Stirling - Department of Economics ( email )

Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
United Kingdom

University of Victoria - Faculty of Business ( email )

Victoria, British Columbia

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