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Grounded in Methodology, Certified by Journals: The Rise and Evolution of a Mainstream in Economics

Michel De Vroey and Luca Pensieroso

No 2021015, LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES from Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)

Abstract: In this paper, we introduce a new understanding of the mainstream notion in economics. Its distinct character is based on a set of methodological standards deemed compulsory in the theoretical or empirical practice of the discipline. We contend that a theoretical mainstream arose around the 1980s, when the prevailing methodological standards in microeconomics and game theory – mathematical language, equilibrium discipline, and ‘explicit micro-foundations’ – came to be adopted in theoretical papers across a wide range of fields and specializations. We further argue that the 1990 period witnessed the surge of a distinct empirical mainstream and the emergence of a joint mainstream, the result of the rise of experimental economics and a renewal of applied economics centered on the notion of causal inference. An examination of the contents of the articles published in top journals in selected years from 1970 to 2018 confirms our contention.

Keywords: Mainstream; Neoclassical approach; Experimental economics; Causal inference; Methodology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A10 B20 B41 C9 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 36
Date: 2021-07-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-his, nep-hme, nep-hpe and nep-sog
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ctl:louvir:2021015

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