Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Heterodoc Speaks

from INSIDE HIGHER EDUCATION, 10/3/07, by Andy Guess:

>That label ["heterodox"] is sometimes reserved for a coterie of economists who go further, rejecting even some of the basic founding principles of economics. Sequestered in departments at the University of Notre Dame, the New School and others, the heterodox economists often complain that they aren’t respected in the field and are systematically kept out of mainstream debates. Most find it difficult to publish in mainstream journals or present at major conferences.

> “It’s kind of like the third parties in politics,” said James Devine, a professor at Loyola Marymount University who describes his approach as within the heterodox tradition.

>But, as with any vaguely defined term, “heterodox” can be used to mean anything. It’s “an ambiguous term,” Gordon said. “What’s heterodox changes over time,” said Avinash K. Dixit, at Princeton, who is the president-elect of the AEA. Sure enough, the Association for Heterodox Economics lists researchers who approach the discipline from an Austrian perspective — like some at George Mason.

>“Very conservative people can be heterodox,” added Devine, whose areas of interest include labor economics and Marxian political economy. “We’re basically seen as consumers. That’s the dominant [view] and I don’t think that’s going away in the near future, but there is some change, an opening, towards heterodox views, and that comes mostly from experimental economics and behavioral economics,” he said.

>As Devine sees it, the neoclassical model that dominates economics has a subset — laissez-faire market economics — that he calls “more of a political commitment” than a scholarly consensus. So within the field, he said, economists like Blinder and Card (who subscribe to most of the mainstream tenets) are rebelling against that political orthodoxy, while the “experimentalists” working in behavioral economics or more fringe heterodox circles are chipping away at the neoclassical foundations themselves.<

-- Jim

2 comments: said...

Given that heterodox has become hip, while there are a lot of economists who do not go all the way to claiming to be heterodox, how many are there who openly label themselves as "orthodox"?

Econoclast said...

no-one labels themselves "orthodox" in social sciences, because we're supposed to be open-minded, yadda yadda, yadda.