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Where Economics Went Wrong$
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David Colander and Craig Freedman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691179209

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691179209.001.0001

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A Classical Garden of Liberal Economics

A Classical Garden of Liberal Economics

Policy versus Abstraction

Chapter:
(p.20) 2 A Classical Garden of Liberal Economics
Source:
Where Economics Went Wrong
Author(s):

David Colander

Craig Freedman

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691179209.003.0002

This chapter discusses the Classical Liberal methodology. In the Classical Liberal method, formal theory was something to be conscious of, to be kept in the back of one's mind as difficult policy issues were confronted. However, it was secondary to educated common sense, and the method required one to be clear about the judgments one was making in applying a particular model and in deciding which assumptions were reasonable and which were not. Applied policy economics had to explicitly deal with all such issues, which meant that no firm policy conclusion followed from scientific theory. In policy, science played only a supporting role. However, in what would increasingly become associated with the neoclassical method, that would change, and scientific theory would occupy center stage within the realm of policy thinking.

Keywords:   Classical Liberal methodology, formal theory, policy issues, educated common sense, policy economics, scientific theory

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