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Mainstream Economic Methodology

Sheila Dow

Cambridge Journal of Economics, 1997, vol. 21, issue 1, 73-93

Abstract: This is a survey of mainstream economic methodology, both in the sense of mainstream methodology and of mainstream economics. Tensions are identified in methodology resulting from an increasing preference for descriptivism over prescriptivism, and in economics resulting from an increasing preference for fragmentation over axiomatization. The increasing attention of methodologists to the actual practice of economists, and of economists to possibilities outside the traditional axiomatic strictures, are both welcome. But, still being based in a dualistic mode of thought, these developments threaten to go too far, denying methodology any constructive role and removing any focus on the foundations for theorizing. Nonmainstream methodology is shown to offer a nondualistic solution which could resolve current tensions. Copyright 1997 by Oxford University Press.

Date: 1997
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Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:21:y:1997:i:1:p:73-93