Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Mainstream economics. Its rise and evolution

de vroey michel, université catholique de ouvain

1 Mainstream Economics. Its Rise and Evolution Michel De Vroey and Luca Pensieroso † Abstract We argue that, to be useful, the notion of mainstream must be understood as theoretically grounded. When this standpoint is taken, it can be shown that mainstream economics arose in the 1980s as the result of an extension of the methodological standards prevailing in microeconomics and game theory to a broad range of other fields. We discuss the impact of the recent developments in applied economics on the earlier configuration of mainstream economics. We claim that the emergence of narrower methodological standards in applied economics resulted in the rise of second channel for mainstream formation in addition to the theoretical channel. Finally, we put our claims to the test by examining the content of publications in top journals over several decades, from 1970 to 2018. Plan 1. INTRODUCTION 2. THE LITERATURE 3. NEOCLASSICAL ECONOMICS. ITS RISE AND CHARACTERIZATION 4. THE STATE OF ECONOMICS IN THE 1960S: RAMIFICATIONS AND THE ABSENCE OF A METHODOLOGICALLY GROUNDED MAINSTREAM 5. THE RISE OF A METHODOLOGICALLY GROUNDED MAINSTREAM IN THE 1980s 6. EMPIRICAL ASSESSMENT: LONG-PERIOD ANALYSIS 7. THE TRANSFORMATION OF APPLIED ECONOMICS 8. EMPIRICAL ASSESSMENT, 2010 – 2018. †

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Keywords: Mainstream neoclassical economics game theory applied economics experimental economics

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