How reflexive have economists been in the wake of the crisis: 'The times they are a -changin'?

By Ioana Negru

PKES Working Paper 1306

July 2013

The current global economic crisis provides a window of opportunity for both reflection and change within economics. This paper examines the response of the discipline to questions surrounding the need for change by surveying commentaries provided by economists (and to some extent economic commentators) within the media and literature of professional economics associations. The paper seeks to address two questions. Firstly, is there recognition that the economic crisis poses serious questions for the discipline of economics – and if so what is the scale and nature of this self-awareness? Secondly, the paper seeks to identify the type of diagnoses being provided by the economics profession in terms of whether the clamor for change relates to focus, theoretical framework, or methodological foundations of the disciplines (or all three). Empirical findings suggest that future effort might be better directed towards economic theory and its assumptions rather than towards method and methodology.

Keywords: Reflexivity, change in economics, methodology in economics, economic crisis, economists’ practices

JEL classification: A10 B10 B40