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Book cover: Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology

Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology

ISSN: 0743-4154
Series editor(s): ProfessorS Luca Fiorito, Scott Scheall and Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak

Subject Area: Economics

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25. Lawson's economics and reality

Document Information:
Title:25. Lawson's economics and reality
Author(s):Glenn L. Johnson
Volume:18 ISBN: 978-0-76230-637-4 eISBN: 978-1-84950-045-6
Citation:Glenn L. Johnson (2000), 25. Lawson's economics and reality, in (ed.) A Research Annual (Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Volume 18), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.369-387
DOI:10.1016/S0743-4154(00)18045-9 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Full length article
Abstract:I started by characterizing Lawson's book as esoteric and difficult to comprehend. I used the term ‘arcane’. This review should demonstrate that his book is a rich, important methodological exercise for economists concerned about scientific methods, techniques and philosophy and the usefulness of their discipline. Though I have touched on only a small part of Lawson's accomplishments, I have attempted to indicate how I think his work can be advantageously extended to deal with (1) the multi-disciplinary professions served by economists, (2) the value dimensions of efforts to solve real world practical problems (as opposed to the answering of disciplinary questions that is sometimes referred to as ‘problem solving’ by disciplinarians) as well as with (3) the inherent value dimensions of disciplinary economics, many other social science disciplines, and the professions, (4) the importance of data collection and aggregation, and (5) the multi- and inter-disciplinary projections to which economists contribute so much. I found Economics and Reality to be insightful, stimulating and promising. Its promise I believe will be realized sooner if we read, understand, criticize and evaluate it and then contribute. What Lawson has done is major and important. I believe that it is still in a developmental stage. More of us need to help develop his ideas even if our help reveals the shortcomings of much that we now do as economists. Such revelations would help us get on with needed improvement in our discipline.

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