Universität Wien FIND

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040032 UK Methodology of Economics (BA) (2018W)

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 4 - Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first serve).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Wednesday 03.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 10.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 17.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 24.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 31.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 07.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 21.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 28.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 05.12. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 12.12. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Tuesday 22.01. 15:00 - 18:15 Studierzone
Wednesday 23.01. 15:00 - 18:15 Seminarraum 14 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 2.Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

As a student of economics, you sooner or later ask yourself the question how the models that you learn during the study program are related to the world we live in. Clearly, economic models only reflect at best some of the factors that are relevant in the world we live in. This then raises important questions, such as:
• Do economic models provide useful insight in how the economy functions?
• How can we assess the fruitfulness of these insights?
• If economic models clearly only partially reflect the world we live in, how can they explain or predict?
• What is the role of econometrics or experiments in testing economic models?
• What is the role of rationality assumptions and equilibrium assumptions? Why are they used?
• Is it important that macroeconomics has microeconomic foundations? If so, why?
• Is there “progress” in economic knowledge acquisition?
• How to think about “mainstream economics” and other “schools”? Has “mainstream economics” evolved?
• To what extent is economics different from other natural and/or social sciences?

The purpose of this course is to address these questions. Many economists and philosophers have provided their views and opinions. This course is meant to get acquainted with these views and to use them to get a better understanding of the different roles economic models play.

Assessment and permitted materials

The aims of this course can only be realized if students are active in presenting and discussing ideas. The assessment criteria reflect this. During the lectures, students have to present at least one time the literature that is assigned for that week, and have to act at least one time as discussant. Apart from presenting or discussing, students have also to be actively involved in the general discussion. 50% of the final grade is determined by these three different elements (presentation 25%, discussion 10%, active participation 15%). The other 50% is assigned to a final essay in which the student should apply the literature that we discussed to a specific economic model the student can choose.
Work on the final essay is organized as follows. A student writes a half-page proposal. This proposal is either accepted or is asked to be rewritten. The student then writes an essay of at most 10 pages. The essay has to have a clear introduction where the question is posed the essay addresses. There is a subsequent analysis and a separate conclusion. Deadline for the essay is February 20, 2019.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Students should have an evaluation on each and every part of the assessment criteria to get a final grade. Students should also be present at least 9 out of the 12 sessions and read the relevant material in advance of the lecture.

Examination topics

There will not be a midterm or a final exam. Instead, students should show they have read and thought about the literature.

Reading list

Reading list (will be expanded later)
Alexandrova, Anna. (2006) “Connecting Economic Models to the Real World: Game Theory and the FCC Spectrum Auctions.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36.2: 173-192.
Cartwright, Nancy (2009), ‘If no capacities then no credible worlds’, Erkenntnis, 70 (1), 45-58.
Friedman, M. 1953. The Methodology of Positive Economics. In Essays of positive economics, pp. 3-43.
Gibbard, A. and H. Varian. 1978. Economic Models. Journal of Philosophy 75, pp. 664-77.
Janssen, M. 1993. Microfoundations. Routledge, chapters 2-4.
Krugman, Paul R. 2009. “How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?” The New York Times Magazine, September 2. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06Economic-t.html
Rodrik, D. 2015. Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science. Norton
Rubinstein, Ariel. “A Sceptic’s Comment on the Study of Economics.” The Economic Journal, 510 (2006): C1-C9.
Sugden, Robert (2000), ‘Credible Worlds: The Status of Theoretical Models in Economics’, Journal of Economic Methodology, 7 (1), 1 – 31.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:28