Category Archives: Psychology

I’m Pointing at the Moon, You’re Looking at My Finger: Janet Yellen on Post-Keynesian Economics

Here’s an interesting fact that I’ll bet many of you didn’t know: the current head of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, wrote a short paper in 1980 examining the theories of the Post-Keynesians. You can find it here. The paper … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Policy, Economic Theory, Philosophy, Psychology | 26 Comments

Why Economists Fail to Make ‘Rational’ Judgments and Why You Should Too

Recently Cameron Murray directed me to an interesting paper entitled Do Economists Recognize an Opportunity Cost When They See One? A Dismal Performance from the Dismal Science. The paper surveyed a whole bunch of professional economists to see if they … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Theory, Psychology | 45 Comments

What Constitutes a Money Crank?

I’ve been asking myself that question rather a lot in the past two weeks. This is because I have had two separate commissions for pieces of writing that require me jump down the rabbit hole into the land of the … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Theory, Politics, Psychology | 19 Comments

A Man’s World: Is Gender the Key Explanatory Factor Behind the Modelling Tendency in Economics?

Some time ago I made a remark that the bias toward mathematical modelling in economics might have to do with the male bias of the discipline. More specifically, I argued that models provided a stand-in for the economist’s own person … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Theory, Philosophy, Psychology, Statistics and Probability | 2 Comments

Marginalist Microeconomics is a Highly Normative Ethical Doctrine

In a recent post Lord Keynes raises the question of the so-called ‘law’ of diminishing marginal utility. The ‘law’ states that we will derive ever diminishing satisfaction from the acquisition of a good or service. Lord Keynes notes that this … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Theory, Philosophy, Psychology | 22 Comments

Some Personal Reflections on Contemporary Economic and Scientific Indoctrination

I thought that the discussion in this clip from about 7.40 on was extremely interesting. Watson discusses how introductory textbooks — particularly Greg Mankiw’s — ask students to suspend their disbelief in the models that they are being taught. The … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Theory, Philosophy, Psychology | 3 Comments

Joan Robinson’s Critique of Marginal Utility Theory

In her excellent book Economic Philosophy¬†(available as a PDF here) Joan Robinson undertakes an extensive discussion of marginal utility theory. Here I will be more so interested in her technical criticisms. But before going into these it should be noted … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Theory, Philosophy, Psychology | 21 Comments

Behavioral Economics as Victorian Moralising

The other day I wrote a post that was about some awful load of nonsense that was coming from behavioural economics under the self-contradictory name of ‘libertarian paternalism’. Since then I’ve been looking into behavioural economics in some detail and … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Theory, Psychology | 1 Comment

A Short Note on a Connection Between Marginalist Economics and Folk Medicine

One peculiar aspect of modern marginalist economics is its obsession with equilibrium. I was recently re-listening to an excellent lecture given by Joan Robinson in Stanford in 1974 entitled ‘What is Wrong With Neoclassical Economics?‘. The entire lecture is about … Continue reading

Posted in Economic Theory, Psychology | 8 Comments

OMG Tapering!

Well, it seems that the Fed has finally decided to initiate the much talked about ‘taper’ of the QE program. The proposed taper will wind down asset purchases by $10bn a month. That means that they won’t actually stop or … Continue reading

Posted in Market Analysis, Media/Journalism, Psychology | 31 Comments