The Inexact and Separate Science of Economics


This book offers a comprehensive introduction to the fundamentals of standard economics, to the strategies economists employ in applying their theories to solve particular problems, and to the ways in which economists assess their theories. The author points out that economic theorists share a vision of economic theory as a "separate" science, believing that a single theory focusing on one cause, rational "greed," can capture the basic features of the whole economic realm. Professor Hausman argues that since economic phenomena are so messy, and economic theory is thus hard to test, it is accepted because its fundamental assumptions are seen as acceptable on an intuitive level. Evidence from other sources, particularly psychology, should be used by economists in their explorations.


 Reviews:

"Overall, this book is well written, cogently argued, and extremely thought provoking. Hausman has a thorough grasp of both the important philosophical literature and the important economic literature. And the book contains an excellent short appendix discussing the major issues in the philosophy of science." Choice

"This is a fine book on the methodology of economics....This book offers a clear and perceptive discussion of the methodology of economics which maintains a delicate balance between the detailed discussion of the practice of economic analysis, the general debates within the philosophy of science, the history of economic method, the debate between allternative methodological schools, and the proposal of methodological reform. Indeed, the skill with which these various themes are handled and integrated, and the many detailed arguments deployed, makes this book extremely valuable as a self-contained text for an advanced undergraduate course in economic methodology, but no less interesting for the more experienced student of methodology, or the practising economist." Alan Hamlin, Times Higher Education Supplement

"Th[is] book is well worth reading and mulling over; much of what it has to say needs to be considered by institutionalists as well as by neoclassicists." Journal of Economic Issues

"...challenging and stimulating...[this book] does reflect an insightful familiarity with the nature and uses of economics. Its criticisms of the discipline are not to be lightly dismissed. It is definitely recommended reading for academic economists and advanced graduate students." Social Science Quarterly

"...presents a major intellectual challenge to economic methodology and economic science. He would have us embrace Mill's conception of economics as an inexact and separate science. His proposed reconstruction of economic science deserves both our attention and our considered scrutiny." James R. Wible, Southern Economic Journal

"...a timely and persuasive reformulation and defense of the traditional view of economic methodology. In my judgment, this is the best book on the methodology of economics in many years." David Phillips, Philosophical Review