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Dealing with Complexity: Marshall and Keynes on the Nature of Economic Thinking

Roberto Marchionatti

Chapter 3 in The Economics of Alfred Marshall, 2003, pp 32-52 from Palgrave Macmillan

Abstract: Abstract In their conception and practice of economics, Alfred Marshall and John Maynard Keynes have been increasingly regarded as old-fashioned economists. According to a widely shared opinion in mainstream economics, they adopted loose definitions and generic concepts; they did not make extensive use of mathematics as ‘an engine of inquiry’; they were unsystematic in their discussion; they did not support their opinions by means of systematic statistical analysis. All of this stands in sharp contrast with the conception of economics largely prevailing after the Second World War, which is based on deductive models, consistent with standard economic principles and highly dosed with mathematics, which have to be econometrically tested and applied to reality in order to achieve general results able to hold for all times and institutional contexts.

Keywords: Deductive Reasoning; Moral Science; Rational Belief; Structural Uncertainty; Economic Thinking (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2003
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DOI: 10.1007/978-0-230-59963-5_3

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