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Is There Progress in Economics?

Knowledge, Truth and the History of Economic Thought Edited by Stephan Boehm, Associate Professor of Economics, Christian Gehrke, Associate Professor of Economics, Heinz D. Kurz, Emeritus Professor of Economics and Richard Sturn, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Graz, Austria
This thought-provoking book discusses the concept of progress in economics and investigates whether any advance has been made in its different spheres of research. The authors look back at the history, successes and failures of their respective fields and thoroughly examine the notion of progress from an epistemological and methodological perspective.
Extent: 432 pp
Hardback Price: $176.00 Web: $158.40
Publication Date: 2002
ISBN: 978 1 84064 683 2
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Economic History
  • History of Economic Thought
  • Methodology of Economics
This thought-provoking book discusses the concept of progress in economics and investigates whether any advance has been made in its different spheres of research. The authors look back at the history, successes and failures of their respective fields and thoroughly examine the notion of progress from an epistemological and methodological perspective.

The idea of progress is particularly significant as the authors regard it as an essentially contested concept which can be defined in many ways – theoretically or empirically; locally or globally; or as encouraging or impeding the existence of other research traditions. The authors discuss the idea that for progress to make any sense there must be an accumulation of knowledge built up over time rather than the replacement of ideas by each successive generation. Accordingly, they are not concerned with estimating the price of progress, reminiscing in the past, or assessing what has been lost. Instead they apply the complex mechanisms and machinery of the discipline to sub-fields such as normative economics, monetary economics, trade and location theory, Austrian economics and classical economics to critically assess whether progress has been made in these areas of research.

Bringing together authoritative and wide-ranging contributions by leading scholars, this book will challenge and engage those interested in philosophy, economic methodology and the history of economic thought. It will also appeal to economists in general who are interested in the advancement of their profession.
‘Is There Progress in Economics? should be given relatively high marks. First, the quality of the papers is quite high, and second, the editors did a relatively good job of selecting, arranging and editing the contributions so that the volume really does focus on the question in its title. The editors’ introduction also contributes to the overall effect by attempting to tie all of the papers together into a reasonably tight bundle.’
– D. Wade Hands, Economic Record
Contributors: R.E. Backhouse, J. Birner, M. Blaug, S. Boehm, S. Cremaschi, M. Fernández López, P. Garegnani, C. Gehrke, S. Gloria-Palermo, A. Graziani, K. Hamberger, H. Klausinger, H.D. Kurz, M. Lagueux, U. Mäki, A. Maneschi, S.J. Meardon, P. Mongin, S. Parrinello, L. Pasinetti, F. Ravagnani, N. Salvadori, E.W. Streissler, R. Sturn, H.-M. Trautwein, R. van den Berg, D. Winch
Contents: Foreword Introduction Part I: Progress: A Contested Concept? Part II: Progress in the History of Ideas: Alternative Approaches Part III: Roundtable: Is there Progress in Economics? Part IV: Normative Economics Part V: Monetary Economics Part VI: Trade and Location Part VII: Currents of Thought Part VIII: Reflections on the Classical Long-Period Method Index