Pride and Prejudice: What’s good and bad about economics

Diane Coyle

Published: March 2003

Economics is one of the most powerful of intellectual disciplines, applying enlightened scepticism to human society. Its analytical rigour often makes economists unpopular, but that ought to be a source of pride. Unfortunately, we are all too often our own worst enemies, as the formal study of economics has taken the scientific method to an unproductive extreme that is vanishingly rare even in the natural sciences. The most interesting research in economics now— looking at history or geography or institutions or psychology—is steering away from this reductive blind-alley, but there is a long way to go before economics returns to its fruitful intellectual roots.

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