On the Methodology and History of Economics

Deconstructing economics in a 17th Century tavern

The following are assorted links on the history and methodology of economics.

Dictionaries of Economics

  • Dictionnaire de l'économie politique, contenant l'exposition des principes de la science, l'opinion des écrivains qui ont le plus contribué a sa fondation et a ses progrés, la bibliographie générale de l'économie politique par noms d'autuers et par ordre de matiéres, avec des notices biographiques et une appréciation raisonée des principaux ouvrages edited by Charles Coquelin and Gilbert Urbain Guillaumin, 1852 (two vols).
  • Dictionary of Political Economy, edited by R.H. Inglis Palgrave, editor, 3 vols, 1894-1899
  • Handwörterbuch der Staatswissenschaften, edited by Johannes Conrad, Ludwig Elster, Wilhelm Lexis and Edgar Loening,  1891-94
    •  [2nd ed, 1898-1901]
      • v.1 (Abbau-Armenwesen) (1898)
      • v.2 (Arndt-Busch (1899)
      • v.3 (Cab-Ful) (1900)
      • v.4 (G-J) (1900)
      • v.5 (Kaff-Owen) (1900)
      • v.6 (P-S) (1901)
      • v.7 (T-Z)

Selected tracts on the "Scope and Method" of Economics

19th Century

  • Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy,  John Stuart Mill, 1844  [bk], [av], [bris],  [pdf, lib]
  • The Character and Logical Method of Political Economy, by John E. Cairnes, 1857 [bk] [1875 2nd. ed]. [McM; lib]
  • Some Leading Principles of Political Economy Newly Expounded , by John E. Cairnes,  1874 [bk]
  • Science: Economic discussion, 1886 [bk]
    • "Introduction" by R.T. Ely [p.v]
    • "The Continuity of Economic Thought", by E.R.A. Seligman, p.1
    • "The State as an Economic Factor, Pt. I" by E.J. James,  p.24
    • "The State as an Economic Factor, Pt. II - Reply to James" by F.W. Taussig, p.34
    • "The State as an Economic Factor, Pt. III - Rejoinder" by E.J. James, p.39
    • "Ethics and Economics" by R.T. Ely, p.44
    • "Aspects of the Economic Discussion", by Simon Newcomb", p.57
    • "The Economic Discussion in Science", by R.T. Ely, p.68
    • "Economics and Jurisprudence" by Henry C. Adams, p.80
    • "Economic Laws and Methods", Arthur T. Hadley, p.92
    • "Another View of Economic Laws and Methods", by Henry C.Adams, p.98
    • "Methods of Investigation in Political Economy", by Richmond Mayo-Smith, p.104
    • "The Effect of Consumption of Wealth on the Economic Welfare of Society", by Simon N. Patten, p.123
  • "The Method and Province of Political Economy", by Simon Newcomb, 1875, North American Review [moa]
  • "Political Economy a Science -- of What?" by Lyman Atwater, 1880, Princeton Review [moa]
  • "The Method of Political Economy", by D. McG. Means, 1883, New Englander and Yale review [moa]
  • The Scope and Method of Political Economy, by John Neville Keynes, 1891 [bk] [1897 2nd ed; av] [McM:.pdf]

20th Century

  • La Méthode positive en science économique, by Francois Simiand, 1912.[bnf]
  • "Economic Theorizing and Scientific Progress", by Jacob Hollander,  1916, AER (Sup)  p.124 [js]
  • Tendencies in Economic Theory--Discussion", 1916, AER (Sup)  p.162 [js] (discussion by H.J. Davenport, R.T. Ely, I. Fisher, B.M. Anderson),
  •  "The Historical Approach to Economics", by Isaac A. Loos, 1918, AER (Sep), p.549 [js]
  • "The Psychological Basis for the Economic Interpretation of History", by William F. Ogburn, 1919, AER (Supp) p.291 [js]
  • "The Psychological Basis - Comment", by Frank A. Fetter,   1919, AER (Supp), p.306 [js]
  • "The Institutional Approach to Economic Theory", by Walton H. Hamilton, 1919, AER (Supp) p.309 [js]
  • "Economic Theory - Discussion", 1919, AER (Supp) p.319 [js] (Haney, Anderson, Clark)
  • "Price Economics versus Welfare Economics",  by Frank A. Fetter, 1920, AER (Sep), p.467 [js]
  • "A Revaluation of Traditional Economic Theory", by Carl E. Parry, 1921, AER (Supp)  p.123 [js]
  • "Soundings in Non-Euclidean Economics",  by John Maurice Clark, 1921, AER (Supp) p.132 [js]
  • "Traditional Economic Theory - Discussion", 1921, AER (Supp), p.143 [js],  (Fisher, Knight, Parry)
  • "The Teaching of Elementary Economics - Roundtable", 1921, AER (Supp), p.171 [js]
  • The Political Element in the Development of Economic Theory, by Gunnar Myrdal, 1930
  • Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science, by Lionel Robbins, 1932. [mis] [1935 2nd. edition, [mis]; 3rd edition, 1984] [French trans. copp]
  • Epistemological Problems of Economics,  by Ludwig von Mises,1932. [mis, html]
  • The Limits of Economics, by Oskar Morgenstern, 1937 [mis]
  • The Significance and Basic Postulates of Economic Theory by T.W. Hutchison, 1938
  • "Measurement without Theory", by Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1947, REStat [cwls]
  • "A Reply to Vining", by Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1949, REStat [cwls]
  • .A Modest Proposal for Some Stress on Scholarship in Graduate Training, by Jacob Viner, 1950 [HET, pdf]
  • "The Non-Econometrician's Lament" by Dennis H. Robertson [het]
  • The Counter-Revolution of Science: Studies on the abuse of reason, by Friedrich A. Hayek,1952. [av]
  • "Economic Theory and Mathematics: An appraisal", by Paul A. Samuelson, 1952, AER [cwls]
  • "Recent Developments in Mathematical Economics and Econometrics: An Expository Session", 1953, American Economic Review [cwls]
  • "Mathematics in Economics", by Wassily Leontief,  1954, Bulletin of the AMS. [ams]
  • "Selected Topics in Economics Involving Mathematical Reasoning"  by Tjalling C. Koopmans and A.F. Bausch, 1959, SIAM Review [cwls]
  • "Theoretical Assumptions and Non-Observed Facts", by Wassily Leontief, 1971, AER. [pdf]
  • "Is the Theory of Competitive Equilibrium With It?", by Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1974, AER. [cwls]
  • "General Economic Equilibrium: Purpose, analytic techniques, collective choice"  by Kenneth J. Arrow, 1974, AER. [nobel]
  • "Inflation and Unemployment", by Milton Friedman, 1977, JPE.
  • "The Use of Models: Experience and prospects", by Jan Tinbergen, 1981, AER
  • "The Constitution of Economic Policy", by James M. Buchanan, 1987, AER
  • "Economic Theory in a Mathematical Mode: the Nobel lecture", by Gerard Debreu, 1984, AER.
  • "The Mathematization of Economic Theory", by Gerard Debreu, 1991, AER.[het]


  • The Foundations of Economic Man by Lawrence Boland, 1982 [bol]
  • "Economic methodology in a nutshell" by Daniel Hausman, 1989, JEP [aea]
  • "The Pure and the Applied: Bourbakism comes to America", by E.Roy Weintraub and Philip Mirowski, 1994, Science in Context
  • "The Irony In/Of Economic Theory" by M. Ali Khan, 1993, MLN
  • Critique of Economic Reason by Kenneth M. Stokes (1992)
  • A Metatheoretical Discourse by Kenneth M. Stokes [iuj]
  • "Why does Methodology Matter for Economics?", by Kevin D. Hoover, 1995, EJ [duke]
  • "Does Austrian Economics Have a Useful Future?" 1997 Presidential Address to SDAE by Karen I. Vaughn (MS Word)
  • "Notes on the Meaning of 'Competition' in Economic Thought" (from lecture by Louis Makowski, 1983) at Co-opetition.
  • "The Chicago Counter-Revolution and the Sociology of Knowledge" by Robert Leeson, 1997
  • "The State of Modern Economics" by Mark Blaug, 1998, Challenge
  • "The Problem with Formalism', by Mark Blaug, 1998, Challenge
  • "Economics, Philosophy of" by Daniel Hausman, 1998, from Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy [haus]
  • "Philosophy of Economics" by Daniel Hausman, (for IESS) [haus]
  • "Modern Economics and its Critics, 1", by Partha S. Dasgupta, 1998
  • "Is Macroeconomic Believable?" by Ben Bolch, 1998, Independent Review
  • "On the Relationship between History and Economics: the Influence of German Economic Culture in Italy" by Piero Barucci, 1999, SdPE
  • "The Use of Mathematics in Economics" by Sheila Dow
  • "Economic Methodology: theory and Practice" by Lawrence Boland [pdf]
  • Economic Theory and Methodology - course by Steve Keen at Western Sydney
  • Debunking Economics by Steve Keen, 2000/1 [website]
  • "Rigor versus Relevance in Economic Theroy" by Andrea Salanti, 2011 [pdf]

Some older Histories of Economic Thought

  • A Discourse on the Rise, Progress, Peculiar Objects and Importance of Political Economy, by John Ramsay McCulloch, 1824. [bk]
  • Histoire d'économie politique en Europe, depuis les anciens jusqu'à nos jours, by Adolphe-Jérôme Blanqui, 1837  [v.1 ct, v2, ct, (av,bnf)] [1842 ed., v.1, v.2 (av)] [1843 ed.] [1860 ed., v.1, v.2]  [1839 Spanish ed, ed], [1880 English ed.]
  • The Literature of Political Economy: A classified catalogue of select publications in the different departments of that science, with historical, critical and biographical notices, by John Ramsay McCulloch,1845. [bk]
  • [Anon] A Catalogue of Books, the property o a political economist, with critical and biographical notices,  by John Ramsay McCulloch, 1862 [bk]
  • Les progrès de la science économique depuis Adam Smith : révision des doctrines économiques by Maurice Block, 1890, v.1, v.2 [av1, av2]
  • The British Economists by John Shield Nicholson, 1907 [McM]
  • Histoire des doctrines économiques, depuis les physiocrates jusqu'à nos jours, by Charles Gide and Charles Rist, 1909 [av] [English 1915 transl. A History of Economic Doctrines, from the time of the physiocrats to the present day, av]

On HET as a Discipline

  • Guest Editorials at the History of Economics Services (HES)
  •   [defunct]
    • "What defines a legitimate contribution to the subdiscipline "The History of Economics"?" by E. Roy Weintraub (September, 1996)  [duke
    • "Whig History of Economics is Dead -- Now What?" by James P. Henderson (November, 1996)
    • "SSK as a Resource for the History of Economic Thought" by D. Wade Hands (January, 1997)
    • "The Economics of Scientific Knowledge" by John Davis (February, 1997)
    • " History of Thought: In Search of the Missing Adjective" by Tim Alborn, (April, 1997)
    • "Societies, Journals and Research in the History of Economics" by John Lodewijks (October, 1997)
    • "Taxonomy in History of Economics" by J. Daniel Hammond (May, 1997)
  • "Stigler's Gauntlet" by Robert Leeson
  • "Preface to Japanese edition of Stabilizing Dynamics", by E. Roy Weintraub, 1994 [duke]

On Economics in the "Real World"

Archives of Essays and Editorials on HET and Methodology

Assorted Links on Economics

On Economics Teaching

General Links

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All rights reserved, Gonçalo L. Fonseca