Universität Wien FIND

040032 UK Methodology of Economics (BA) (2019W)

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

Registration/Deregistration

Details

max. 25 participants
Language: English

Lecturers

Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Wednesday 02.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 09.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 16.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 23.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 30.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 06.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 13.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 20.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 27.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 04.12. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 15.01. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 22.01. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock
Wednesday 29.01. 16:45 - 18:15 Seminarraum 15 Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1 3.Stock

Information

Aims, contents and method of the course

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, 2020.

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

Lecture 1. General Introduction: the type of questions we will address
Literature: 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.

Lecture 2. Introduction to Philosophy of Economics
Literature: Hausman, D. 1984. The Philosophy of Economics: An Anthology. Cambridge UP, chapter 1. J.S. Mill. 1836. On the definition and method of political economy. Excerpt from “On the definition of political economy and the method of investigation proper to it.

Lecture 3. Friedman’s Essay
Literature: Friedman, M. 1953. The Methodology of Positive Economics. In Essays of positive economics, pp. 3-43.

Lecture 4. Credible Worlds
Literature: Sugden, Robert (2000), ‘Credible Worlds: The Status of Theoretical Models in Economics’, Journal of Economic Methodology, 7 (1), 1 – 31.
Gibbard, A. and H. Varian. 1978. Economic Models. Journal of Philosophy 75, pp. 664-77.

Lecture 5. Nature’s Capacities. Are they relevant for Economics?
Literature: Cartwright, Nancy (2009), ‘If no capacities then no credible worlds’, Erkenntnis, 70 (1), 45-58.

Lecture 6. Economics Rules
Literature: Rodrik, D. 2015. Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science. Norton.

Lecture 7. Is Game theory empirically empty and if so, can it be still useful?
Literature: 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.

Lecture 8. Does Macroeoconomics need Microfoundations?
Literature: Janssen, M. 1993. Microfoundations. Routledge, chapters 2-4, Janssen, M. 2008, `Microfoundations’ in S. Durlauf and L. Blume (eds.). The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. MacMillan. Hoover, K. Reductionism in Economics: Intentionality and Eschatological Justification in the Microfoundations of Macroeconomics" (Philosophy of Science 2015),

Student Presentations in Lectures 9-12.
Take a classic paper in economics and discuss its (ir)relevance for explaining real world phenomena and/or for the development of economic science. Classic papers include, for example:
1. Akerlof, G. 1970.
2. Lucas, R.
3. Spence, M.
4. Schelling, T.
5. Vernon Smith
6. Thaler, R.
7. Rubinstein, A. 1982.
8. Aumann, R. Can we Rationally Agree to Disagree?

Other Nobel Prize laureates can also be chosen

Other literature:
Rubinstein, Ariel. “A Sceptic’s Comment on the Study of Economics.” The Economic Journal, 510 (2006): C1-C9.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Th 28.11.2019 11:07