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The Changing Face of Economics

Conversations with Cutting Edge Economists

David Colander, Richard P. F. Holt, and J. Barkley Rosser, Jr.

Publication Year: 2004

The Changing Face of Economics gives the reader a sense of the modern economics profession and how it is changing. The volume does so with a set of nine interviews with cutting edge economists, followed by interviews with two Nobel Prize winners, Paul Samuelson and Kenneth Arrow, reflecting on the changes that are occurring. What results is a clear picture of today's economics--and it is no longer standard neoclassical economics. The interviews and commentary together demonstrate that economics is currently undergoing a fundamental shift in method and is moving away from traditional neoclassical economics into a dynamic set of new methods and approaches. These new approaches include work in behavioral economics, experimental economics, evolutionary game theory and ecological approaches, complexity and nonlinear dynamics, methodological analysis, and agent-based modeling. David E. Colander is Professor of Economics, Middlebury College. J. Barkley Rosser, Jr., is Professor of Economics and Kirby L. Kramer Jr. Professor of Business Administration, James Madison University. Richard P. F. Holt is Professor of Churchill Honors and Economics, Southern Oregon University.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-x

This book was initially conceived by Ric, who cornered Dave and Barkley at a Post Keynesian conference and told them of an idea he had for a book. The idea was to expand upon some of the ideas that Barkley and Dave had put forward on the PKT-NET, of which Ric is moderator, in a debate about the importance of new work being done within the mainstream. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-26

This book is about the economics profession or, more precisely, the process by which economic thinking changes. We believe that this process is important because economics is currently at a turning point: it is moving away from a strict adherence to the holy trinity—rationality, greed, and equilibrium—to a more eclectic trinity of purposeful behavior, enlightened self-interest, and sustainability. ...

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1. Deirdre McCloskey

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pp. 27-48

How did you get interested in economics? When I was in high school in 1959–60, I read Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath and thought of myself as being on the Left. I was a Joan Baez socialist. I went to college intending to be a history major and found that you had to work an awful lot, you had to read all these books, it was really quite tedious; that’s not because I didn’t have good teachers, I had excellent teachers. ...

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2. Kenneth G. Binmore

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pp. 49-76

How did you get into economics? I didn’t intend to be an economist when I set out. I began by studying chemical engineering at the University of London, but my adviser assured me it would only get duller and duller, and so I switched to mathematics, which was good for me. ...

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3. Herbert Gintis

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pp. 77-106

Can you tell us how you got into economics? In college I knew nothing about economics. I was in a special program at the University of Pennsylvania for students who had scored high on their SAT tests. In this program we didn’t take normal courses. I took only one history course as an undergraduate, and no English courses. ...

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4. Robert H. Frank

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pp. 107-136

How did you get interested in economics? As a student at Georgia Tech I majored in mathematics. They didn’t have an economics major, but they did have some elective courses in economics. I took two of those, introductory micro and macro, and I liked them both. Then in my senior year, they were shorthanded in the math department. ...

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5. Matthew Rabin

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pp. 137-156

How did you get interested in economics? I became interested in economics back in tenth grade. Before then I was interested in science. I have a memory of reading Free to Choose by Milton Friedman and some of Galbraith’s books in high school and being more convinced and fascinated by Milton Friedman and his arguments. ...

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6. William A. (“Buz”) Brock

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pp. 157-182

Could you brie›y recount your path to becoming an economist? I grew up on a farm in Missouri, so I got to see economics working on a firsthand basis. It was an accident that I went to college; no one in my family had. I was sent up to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to live with my aunt so I could afford to go to a junior college. I wasn’t prepared. ...

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7. Duncan K. Foley

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pp. 183-214

How did you get into economics? When I was at Swarthmore College, I took Principles of Macroeconomics from Bill Brown, and I was totally blown away by the Keynesian Cross. (I’m still a big fan of the Keynesian Cross.) I majored in mathematics with minors in economics and philosophy. I didn’t take many courses in economics, but I did learn basic economic theory. ...

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8. Richard B. Norgaard

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pp. 215-250

How did you get into economics? I don’t think anybody grows up wanting to become an economist. In my case, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I did well in high school; I got into Berkeley and started out as a math major. I quickly discovered that mathematics was too abstract at a time when I needed grounding in reality, to figure out how I was going to connect to the world around me. ...

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9. Robert Axtell and H. Peyton Young

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pp. 251-290

The interview was conducted on May 6, 2002, at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. During the middle of the interview H. Peyton Young joined us. The speaker is Robert Axtell unless specified. ...

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10. Kenneth Arrow

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pp. 291-308

Could you comment brie›y on your overall reaction to our project? Economics as practiced is enormously different in orientation and detail today than it was when I was a graduate student. I got into economics because I was interested in statistics, not because I was interested in economics. At the time Columbia was one of the few places you could study statistics. ...

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11. Paul A. Samuelson

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pp. 309-314

This interview was conducted by mail in May 2003. Paul read the introduction and earlier interviews and was kind enough to answer the following questions. ...

Bibliography

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pp. 315-334

Index

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pp. 335-358


E-ISBN-13: 9780472024797
E-ISBN-10: 0472024795
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472068777
Print-ISBN-10: 0472068776

Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2004