Tag Archives: Sociology of economics

American Sociology’s Emergence and Separation from Political Economy

Rereading Philippe Steiner’s excellent, thorough and highly recommended Durkheim and the Birth of Economic Sociology (2011) — in which Steiner argues that there were two stages in Durkheim’s approach to the economy: a sociological critique of political economy and a sociology … Continue reading

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The Art of Central Banking (3) — No working theory of inflation and economists’ instinctual attachment to concepts

Daniel K. Tarullo, a former member of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve, draws two sharp and sound, yet unsurprising, conclusions from his eight-year (2009-2017) service:  “The substantive point is that we do not, at present, have a … Continue reading

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The Washington Consensus: Sociology of Economics and History of Ideas

In 1989, John Williamson, a fellow at the Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC which previously advised the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, presented a background paper to a conference aimed to explore how extensive were the policy reforms that were then … Continue reading

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Robert Heilbroner: “The prestige accorded to mathematics in economics has given it rigor, but, alas, also mortis”

“Economics is not a scientific discipline like the natural sciences, and that no cumulative advance describes its changeful form over the years… The chapter we call modern economics, compared with earlier chapters of our discipline, is shallow and poor rather … Continue reading

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On economists, sociologists, and evil – an anecdote and an insight from Paul Krugman

Professor Paul Krugman at the American Sociological Association conference:  “When I went to graduate school, I took international trade from Jagdish Bhagwati who explained to his class his personal theory of reincarnation which was that if you are a good … Continue reading

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Why have historians ceded authority to economists as reliable and competent policy advisors?

Since the 18th century historians have advised policy-makers. Then, about fifty years ago, economists have taken their place. Why did it happen and what can be learned from this occurrence? During the last 15 years, economic sociologists, historians and sociologists … Continue reading

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Why the Federal Reserve Failed to See the 2008 Financial Crisis: The Role of “Macroeconomics” as a Sensemaking and Cultural Frame

In this very interesting and enlightening paper by Neil Fligstein, Jonah Stuart Brundage & Michael Schultz (University of California, Berkeley), they tackle one of the puzzles about the crisis of 2008: why the regulators were so slow to recognize the … Continue reading

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“Economics graduate programs may be turning out a generation with too many idiot savants skilled in technique but innocent of real economic issues.”

A sentence adorning the title of this post was one of the conclusions of the American Economic Association’s Commission on Graduate Education in Economics, formed in 1991, chaired by Anne Krueger and included Kenneth Arrow, Robert Lucas, Joseph Stiglitz, Lawrence … Continue reading

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Economists and the Powerful: Convenient Theories, Distorted Facts, Ample Rewards

This book provides an excellent and important account of the mechanics of capitalism, and demonstrates how different groups and elites consistently further their own economic interests at the expense of others. (Free access to the introduction). Journeys into intellectual and economic … Continue reading

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Should We Trust Economists? Are they charlatans, to be scorned as medieval cranks?

These questions above asked by professor of finance Noah Smith (Stony Brook University), as he discusses this issue: “To start, we need to talk briefly about what it is economic theorists do. Essentially, they make models, which are mathematical tools … Continue reading

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Joseph Stiglitz: ‘Free markets’ as a religious belief

Joseph Stiglitz: “The advocates of free markets in all their versions say that crises are rare events, though they have been happening with increasing frequency as we change the rules to reflect beliefs in perfect markets. I would argue that … Continue reading

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‪‎Economics‬ Students of the World, Unite! ‪‎Students‬ from 19 countries call for change in the way the discipline is taught

The International Student Initiative for Pluralist Economics, which brings together 42 groups of economics students spread across four continents, is the first global protest against mainstream economic teaching. In the open letter they write: “It is not only the world economy … Continue reading

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Economics professor: Economic models are wrong and invalid, but simple and useful

“The models [in economics] are all wrong. Many people have emphasized that point… That’s what makes economics different. These things are all invalid, but we work with wrong models because they are simple, and – of course – because they … Continue reading

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The Past, Present, and Future of Economics for History

The summer issue of Social Science History was devoted to the theme of “The Past, Present, and Future of Economics for History” and it has several interesting papers (open access): – Perhaps We Can Talk: David B. Riden Comments for “Taking Stock … Continue reading

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Accountants’ Truth and Economic (Im)morality: Knowledge and Ethics in the Financial World

Accounting is the language of business, increasingly standardized across the world through powerful global corporations: a technical skill used to reach the correct, unquestionable answer. Yet, as corporate scandals have shown, a whole range of financial professionals (auditors, bankers, analysts, … Continue reading

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