As Europe moves toward an integrated academic system, European economics is changing. This book discusses that change, along with the changes that are happening simultaneously within the economics profession. The authors argue that modern economics can no longer usefully be described as ‘neoclassical’, but is much better described as complexity economics. The complexity approach embraces rather than assumes away the complexities of social interaction. The authors also argue that despite all the problems with previous European academic structures, those structures allowed for more diversity than exists in US universities, and thus were often ahead of US universities in exploring new cutting-edge approaches. The authors further argue that by trying to judge themselves by US-centric measures and to copy US universities, the European economics profession is undermining some of the strengths of the older system – strengths on which it should be building. While the authors agree that European economics needs to go through major changes in the coming decade, they argue that by building on Europe’s strengths, rather than trying to follow a US example, Europe will be more likely to become the global leader in economics in the coming decades rather than a second-rate copy of the US.
The book begins with two chapters spelling out the authors’ view of the changes in economics and European economics. This is followed by 11 interviews with a diverse set of innovative European economists from a range of European countries. In the interviews these European economists reflect on the ongoing changes in economics generally and in European economics specifically. These interviews demonstrate how the economics profession is moving away from traditional neoclassical economics into a dynamic set of new methods and approaches (incorporating work in behavioral economics, experimental economics, evolutionary game theory and ecological approaches, complexity and nonlinear dynamics, methodological analysis, and agent-based modelling) that the authors classify as complexity economics.
This fascinating and easy-to-read book will prove a stimulating and thought-provoking read for those with an interest in economics, European education, and the nature of academic disciplines generally.