What’s the use of economics?

Moderator:  Richard Baldwin

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Lead Commentaries

Diane Coyle, 19 September 2012

Five years after Lehman’s collapse, economics is under fire both from outside and inside the profession for irrelevance, arrogance and more. This column introduces a new Vox debate focused on two questions: What’s the use of economics, and how should we be teaching it to the next generation?

Alan Kirman, 29 October 2012

The economic crisis has thrown the inadequacies of macroeconomics into stark relief. This column argues that the narrow conception of the macroeconomy as a system in equilibrium is problematic. Economists should abandon entrenched theories and understand the macroeconomy as self-organising. It offers detailed suggestions on what alternative ideas economists can teach their future students that better reflect empirical evidence.

Wendy Carlin, David Soskice, 25 October 2012

Is economic teaching keeping up with the changing economy? This column presents a new way of teaching economics in light of the continuing crises. It argues that if we are to create a better-informed public debate we must begin by improving the economics curriculum and our students’ ability and their willingness to communicate about economic ideas and issues.

Andrew G Haldane, 01 October 2012

There is a long list of culprits when it comes to assigning blame for the financial crisis. This column argues economists are among the guilty, having succumbed to an intellectual virus of theory-induced blindness. It adds this calls for an intellectual reinvestment in models of heterogeneous, interacting agents, following in the footsteps of other social scientists. This will require a sense of academic adventure sadly absent in the pre-crisis period.