Why Methodology Matters: Reflections on Bruce Caldwell's "Beyond Positivism"

When Beyond Positivism was published 35 years ago, it presented a compelling case for methodological change in the economics profession. That case remains equally compelling in the present day as, tragically, economics remains largely without the methodological pluralism at the heart of Beyond Positivism’s message. Among the costs of an environment of methodological myopia are widespread misinterpretations and the diversion of scholars from efforts at economic understanding to methodological wrangling, which we illustrate using the experience of Austrian economics in the 20th century. Beyond Positivism, we suggest, continues to provide the intellectual case for a pluralist discipline of economics, but one that requires complementary institutional reforms to come to fruition.

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