New Economics and Its History (1997)

New Economics and Its History. 1997. Edited by John B. Davis. Supplement to volume 29 of HOPE. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

"Introduction," by John B. Davis (pp. 1–9). The history of recent economics raises historiographic issues not typically encountered in the writing of past economics: in the former, there is typically a far greater variety and volume of resources available, and the historian of recent ideas often runs up against living individuals sensitive to the historian’s project

Part 1. The Incursion of Noneconomic Models into Economics

"Machine Dreams: Economic Agents as Cyborgs," by Philip Mirowski (pp. 13–40). The history of economics should reorient itself along the lines demonstrated by writers from the social studies of science, anthropologists and philosophers of science, and modem third-generation feminist thinkers.

"Engineering Dynamic Economics," by Esther-Mirjam Sent (pp. 41–62). During the twentieth century, engineering conceptions of the world dominated economists’ quests for a more scientific analysis of economic dynamics.

"Lucas and Artificial Worlds," by Marcel Boumans (pp. 63–88). Lucas mainly adopts the AI test methodology without applying its approach to complexity.

Part 2. Fields and Subdisciplines

"A Historical Perspective on the Common Methodological Heritage of Contemporary Law, Economics, and Organizational Theory," by S. Todd Lowry (pp. 93–121). Law and political economy have existed as parallel social science disciplines for over two thousand years, and the real challenge is still to cut through the definitional and descriptive formalisms so that both disciplines can benefit from the analytic insights and practical experience of each other.

"The Trial of Homo Economicus: What Law and Economics Tells Us about the Development of Economic Imperialism," by Steven G. Medema (pp. 122–42). Post-1960 law and economics arose as a unidirectional phenomenon, applying economics to law and not the other way around, and as the economic analysis of law, rather than as part of a general social-scientific approach to legal thinking.

"Putting a Different Spin on QALYs: Beyond a Sociological Critique," by Joshua Cohen (pp. 143–71). The QALY approach does not impose quantification; it rather explores the possibility that qualitative judgments can be numerically represented.

"A History of an Intellectual Arbitrage: The Evolution of Financial Economics," by Paul Harrison (pp. 172–87). The incursion of economics into finance spawned innovations in the field of finance but was also accompanied by a rigid deductive approach that has created a tension between theory and observation and has inhibited subsequent innovation in the field.

Part 3. Social-Contextual Perspectives on How Economists Reason

"Methodological Stance and Consumption Theory: A Lesson in Feminist Methodology," by Mary L. Hirschfeld (pp. 191–211). Economists as a group value masculine qualities more highly than feminine qualities, and this valuation leads to methodologies that reflect masculine values, foreclosing the possibility of really exploring consumer behavior

"Persuading by the Numbers: The Balance Sheet in Late-Victorian Financial Journalism," by Timothy L. Alborn (pp. 212–30). The balance sheets publishd in the Economist under the editorship of Walter
Bagehot offered businessmen and economists a crucial source of the economic information that they used to come to terms with their social surroundings

"'What Is Truth' in Capital Theory? Five Stories Relevant to the Evaluation of Frank H. Knight's Contributions to the Capital Controversy," by Ross B. Emmett (pp. 231–50). Any account of Knight's scientific practices will need to examine the interplay between his work as a theoretical economist, his social philosophy, his interest in modem education, and his personal life in order to be complete.

Part 4. Dynamics of the Development of Ideas

"Economists' Responses to Anomalies: Full-Cost Pricing versus Preference Reversals," by Daniel M. Hausman and Philippe Mongin (pp. 255–72). Two episodes in which economists responded to anomalies show that economists often defend their theories by arguing that their discipline is separate from other modes of social inquiry and that potential economic theories face a maximal scope constraint, which also helps keep economics separate from other fields of inquiry

"Responses to Arbitrariness in Contemporary Economics," by S. Abu Turab Rizvi (pp. 273–88). A new attitude among economists shows an empirical turn, a modesty concerning goals, an openness toward using a variety of methods and data, and an abandonment of strict microfoundations—all changes precipitated by the work of Sonnenschein, Mantel, and Debreu.

"New Economics and Its History: A Pickeringian View," by John B. David (289–308). A Pickeringian perspective taken by the history of economics would see the development of economic ideas as a process of resistance and accommodation, in which models function as invented machines.