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The Superiority of Economists

Marion Fourcade, Etienne Ollion and Yann Algan ()
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Etienne Ollion: Université de Strasbourg

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Abstract: In this essay, we analyze the dominant position of economics within the network of the social sciences in the United States. We begin by documenting the relative insularity of economics, using bibliometric data. Next we analyze the tight management of the field from the top down, which gives economics its characteristic hierarchical structure. Economists also distinguish themselves from other social scientists through their much better material situation (many teach in business schools, have external consulting activities), their more individualist worldviews, and their confidence in their discipline's ability to fix the world's problems. Taken together, these traits constitute what we call the superiority of economists, where economists' objective supremacy is intimately linked with their subjective sense of authority and entitlement. While this superiority has certainly fueled economists' practical involvement and their considerable influence over the economy, it has also exposed them more to conflicts of interests, political critique, even derision.

Keywords: Economist; Social science network; Field supremacy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A11 A22 I23 J44 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-hme, nep-hpe and nep-sog
Date: 2015-10
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (41) Track citations by RSS feed

Published in Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2015, vol. 29, pp.89-113

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Journal Article: The Superiority of Economists (2015)
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