What’s the use of economics?

Debate Moderator(s):  Richard Baldwin

Economics is under fire both from outside and inside the profession for irrelevance, arrogance and more. This new Vox debate focuses on two questions: What’s the use of economics? How should we be teaching it to the next generation?

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Lead Commentaries

Alan KIrman , 29 October 2012

The economic crisis has thrown the inadequacies of macroeconomics into stark relief. This column argues that the narrow conception of the macroeconomy as a system in equilibrium is problematic. Economists should abandon entrenched theories and understand the macroeconomy as self-organising. It offers detailed suggestions on what alternative ideas economists can teach their future students that better reflect empirical evidence.

Wendy Carlin, David Soskice , 25 October 2012

Is economic teaching keeping up with the changing economy? This column presents a new way of teaching economics in light of the continuing crises. It argues that if we are to create a better-informed public debate we must begin by improving the economics curriculum and our students’ ability and their willingness to communicate about economic ideas and issues.

Andrew Haldane , 01 October 2012

There is a long list of culprits when it comes to assigning blame for the financial crisis. This column argues economists are among the guilty, having succumbed to an intellectual virus of theory-induced blindness. It adds this calls for an intellectual reinvestment in models of heterogeneous, interacting agents, following in the footsteps of other social scientists. This will require a sense of academic adventure sadly absent in the pre-crisis period.

Diane Coyle , 19 September 2012

Five years after Lehman’s collapse, economics is under fire both from outside and inside the profession for irrelevance, arrogance and more. This column introduces a new Vox debate focused on two questions: What’s the use of economics, and how should we be teaching it to the next generation?