Institutional economics

work in progress page off this one :

  • crit of existing teaching, reformed teaching 
  • crit of dominant textbooks
  • pluralist practice + theory

crit/reform of existing teaching   6/2019 It’s time we tear up our economics textbooks and start over  by Robert J. Samuelson

 Harvard professor N. Gregory Mankiw is one of the most influential economists in the United States. But the 61-year-old’s authority does not stem from advancing an arcane scholarly finding. Nor has Mankiw coined some catchy phrase that captured the popular imagination (see, for example, “The Affluent Society” by John Kenneth Galbraith). Instead, Mankiw’s power derives from his position as the author of one of the most widely used introductory college economics textbooks.

Chances are that if you decided to study college economics today, you’d start with Mankiw’s “Principles of Economics.” He has been writing and revising it for more than two decades. It’s now in its eighth edition, and the ninth is expected in about six months. Mankiw estimates that there are roughly 4 million copies of the book circulating in the world, with about 2 million in the United States. He figures that his book has from 20 to 25 percent of the market for starter economics books.

It’s a great time to be writing these texts, because the economy is in constant flux, and there is an undeniable hunger to understand how it works. Economists Samuel Bowles and Wendy Carlin, who have created an introductory e-book, estimate that about 40 percent of college students take at least one economics course. A long essay on introductory economics by Bowles and Carlin is to appear in the Journal of Economic Literature along with a similar overview by Mankiw.

“I don’t care who writes the nation’s laws — or crafts its advanced treaties — if I can write its economic textbooks.” (Note: I am an economic journalist with no known relation to Paul Samuelson.)

The obvious point is that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. There’s the rub. Mankiw’s introductory text, and surely some others, has been overtaken by events.” …

COREtextbook  hetero lite reform – CORE 101 old contents repacked for the unsuspecting? Here the Wicksellian fantasy and Savings&Loans fairy tale

critical commentary on mainstream textbooks 2/2021 Glaring errors in a widely used textbook of economics Vivek Moorthy

According to a recent post by Mankiw, over 4 million copies of his various books, including translations, have been sold worldwide. After the global financial crisis of 2008, he has been criticized for the pro-market conclusions of his book(s) on ‘microeconomics’ issues such as income inequality, free trade, the impact of a minimum wage, and others. The validity of these criticisms is a separate matter. From a macroeconomics standpoint, the IS/LM framework—which plots an ‘investment equals saving’ curve against a ‘liquidity preference equals money supply’ curve and dates back to 1936—used by Mankiw is faulty. In a long note, I have criticized Mankiw’s flawed defence of IS/LM (specifically in his Macroeconomics sixth edition, before the 2008 crisis) on factual and analytical grounds. This critique (‘Why IS/LM is Irrelevant and Wrong’, February 2015) can be read on, my website.

My suggestion is that wherever this book has been prescribed, it should instead be proscribed—i.e., banned.


wea-textbook-commentaries   01/2021    Peter Bofinger  presents a “10 Best of” Mankiw list.  –  “It is always surprising what reactions a few tweets can trigger.  My now ten-part Twitter series (summarized here) on key passages from the introductory book (Mankiw 2015) and the macroeconomics book (Mankiw 2019) by N. Gregory Mankiw has met with an incredibly great response. I did not expect it at all.  In the series, I had tweeted un- or sparsely annotated “Principles” from Mankiw’s books under the ironic title “Best of Mankiw.”    more here

pluralist practice

…”Junge NachwuchsökonomInnen bekommen in Ihrer Ausbildung meist nur dieses eine Denkmuster – die neoklassische Modellökonomik – vermittelt, und auch danach sind DoktorandenInnen, Postdocs und ProfessorenInnen der VWL einem hohen Konformitätsdruck ausgesetzt. Die Lösung realer gesellschaftlicher Probleme rückt dabei im Schein mathematischer Objektivität und eines überhöhten Dogmatismus in den Hintergrund.

Dies ist nicht nur das interne Problem einer akademischen Disziplin, sondern wirkt sich über Expertisen und wirtschaftspolitische Empfehlungen von ÖkonomInnen an die Politik auf die ganze Gesellschaft aus, betrifft also alle Menschen.

Unser Ziel ist es, der Vielfalt ökonomischer Theorien Raum zu geben, die Lösung realer Probleme in den Vordergrund zu stellen sowie Selbstkritik, Reflexion und Offenheit in der VWL zu fördern. Dabei gehen wir bewusst über einen VWL-internen Diskurs hinaus und richten unsrer Anliegen gezielt an Zivilgesellschaft, Politik und mediale Öffentlichkeit.” …

Plurale Ökonomik/ Summeracademy 2021: Reimagining Economics – Learning from the past, Navigating the future

pluralist theory 2020 When does complementarity support pluralism about schools of economic thought?
Teemu Lari

ABSTRACT : An intuitively appealing argument for pluralism in economics can be made on the grounds that schools of economic thought complement one another. Let us call this the complementarity-based argument for pluralism (CAP). The concepts of complementarity, pluralism, and school of thought are scrutinized in this paper to evaluate this argument. I argue that the complementarity of schools is relative to scientific goals, which implies that discussing complementarity of schools of economic thought requires discussing the goals of economic research. I also distinguish weak from strong complementarity and show that some alleged complementarity relations between schools are weak and thus provide little support for CAP. However, if strong complementarity relations, relative to a valuable goal, can be demonstrated to exist between specific schools, this is a strong reason for pluralism about those schools. Finally, I provide suggestions on how to distinguish strong from weak complementarity.