Presentation on theme: "Economics, Inter- Disciplinarity, and Inference Suraj Jacob Azim Premji University."— Presentation transcript:
Economics, Inter- Disciplinarity, and Inference Suraj Jacob Azim Premji University
An example: Economics of Growth Solow, Romer, etc Y = f (K, L, other) Harrod-Domar → Solow- Swan Later added HK, tech, etc… Endogenous growth theory Mahalanobis, Planning, etc Mahalanobis model (Harrod- Domar) ↔ capital & consumer goods sectors Typical critique: ignored savings constraint closed economy assumption (forex) money supply
Where is the Economics? 1.Focus on “economic” outcomes of interest = dependent variables (DVs) 2.Focus on “economic” explanatory factors = independent variables (IVs) 3.Focus on “economic” method Where does the literature on Economics of Growth fit?
Is Economics about “economic” DVs? Eg, economic growth In which case, why focus on overtly “economic” IVs like K & L? What IVs would a political scientist focus on? A psychologist? (behavioural economics…) An anthropologist? Or are K & L not “economic” IVs? Marxians etc may say “no”…
Is Economics about “economic” IVs? If it is, then task is to explore how economic IVs impact DVs (economic or non-economic) Literature on democracy, conflict, caste, etc Danger: while such analysis is obviously partial, tendency to over- emphasise explanatory power of economic IVs A “full” explanation of DV should situate economic IVs vis-à-vis non- economic IVs – but seldom does! How are economic & non-economic IVs related (in context of DV)? What impacts the economic IVs? In which case, economic IVs become DVs, and we are back to previous slide…
Is Economics about “economic” methods? “(ontological) mismatch of mathematical methods and the nature of social phenomena” (Lawson) Conceptual methods Rational Choice, Methodological Individualism (Friedman, Becker, etc) Marxian analysis Problems Too deductive?, therefore procrustean? “Don’t think, but look!” (Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations) Complexity ignored (partly due to mathematisation)? Abstraction, idealisation, ceteris paribus clauses
Is Economics about “economic” methods? What will an inductive approach look like? Giving up the imperative of generalisation implies… The anthropologist’s approach? Natural vs forced generalisations The small case study approach?
Is Economics about “economic” methods? Empirical methods Deductive nomological approach… fallacy of affirming the consequent Problems Method: inferential statistics Can answer “what” (somewhat), but not “why” or “how” Other methods? Methodology: causal designs (RCTs etc) Causal mechanisms? Estimated causal impact is a function of… ? Problems with isolating causes
Back to the question… where is the Economics? Focus on “economic” outcomes of interest = dependent variable (DV) Focus on “economic” explanatory factors = independent variables (IVs) Focus on “economic” method? Something else entirely? Examples from workshop participants’ ongoing research…