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What Economists Know, Believe, and Debate

Jay W. Richards

Abstract


Arguably, economics, when functioning as a science, provides knowledge of economic reality. But it is devilishly hard to determine just what that knowledge is. This problem is partly the fault of some economists, who may treat their discipline in a positivist way or fail to distinguish knowledge from speculation and normative judgment in their public pronouncements. This helps feed an impression outside economics that the field is nothing more than, say, ethics, political philosophy, or mere ideology. Despite these difficulties, a careful study of economic books and articles, refined by crowd-sourced testing among economists (described below), suggests that there is at least a minimal core of truths that economists know, or justifiably believe.

Jay W. Richards, "What Economists Know, Believe, and Debate," Journal of Markets & Morality 23, no. 1 (2020): 117-130.


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