AREC 513a
Seminar on Economic Methods


Syllabus Spring 2007

Professors: Aradhyula, Cory, Frisvold, Stefanadis, Thompson, and Tronstad

Meeting: Friday, 1200-100, Reference Room (4th floor Chavez)

Format: This seminar is team taught by the above faculty. It will consist of lectures, student-led discussions and student research proposals. Each Monday the students will receive an email describing the assignment for the week. All readings will be posted on the class website. Research ProposalsEach student must present a 15-minute research proposal. Students will make available a 3-5-page proposal the week before their presentation All AREC faculty will be invited to the student presentations. Each proposal must address the following points:

  1. What is the question being asked? Why is it important?
  2. Proposed economic theory.
  3. Proposed data.
  4. Proposed testing method.
  5. Likely findings.


1. The Domain of Economics G. Thompson [Jan 12]

Henry Sidgwick. “Economic Science and Economics.” In The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics 2 (1987):58-59. [originally published in 1894.]

Paul A. Samuelson. Economics 8th edition. New York:McGraw Hill, 1970 (pp.4-5).

Edward Lazear. “Economic Imperialism.” Quarterly Journal of Economics (2000).

2. The Methodology of Economics: An Introduction D. Cory [Jan 19]

A. The Nature and Significance of Methodology

Fritz Machlup. 1978. Methodology of Economics and Other Social Sciences, New York: Academic Press, Inc.
Chapter 1, “What Is Meant by Methodology: A Selective Survey of the Literature,” pp. 3–10 and pp. 53–62.
Chapter 2, “Why Bother with Methodology?” pp. 63–70.

B. Inductivism and Deductivism in Economics

John Pheby. 1988. Methodology and Economics: A Critical Introduction, London: The MacMillan Press Ltd.
Chapter 1, “Inductivism and Deuctivism in Economics,” pp. 1–21.

Richard A. Levins. 1989. “On Farmers Who Solve Equations,” Choices (Fourth Quarter), pp. 8–10 and replies, Choices (Second Quarter, 1990), pp. 40–42.

3. Methodology 2 D. Cory [Jan26]

C. Falsification and Economics

John Pheby. 1988. Methodology and Economics: A Critical Introduction, London: The MacMillan Press Ltd.
Chapter 2, “Falsification and Economics,” pp. 22–36.

Mark Blaug. 1980. The Methodology of Economics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chapter 1, “From the Received View to the Views of Popper,” pp. 1–28.
Chapter 15, “Conclusions,” pp.253–264

D. Instrumentalism and Economics

John Pheby. 1988. Methodology and Economics: A Critical Introduction, London: The MacMillan Press Ltd.
Chapter 6, “Instrumentalism and Economics,” pp. 81–94.

L.A. Boland. 1979. “A Critique of Friedman’s Critics,” Journal of Economic Literature, 17(June):503–522.

4. Methodology 3 D. Cory [Feb 2]

E. The Rhetoric of Economics

Donald N. McCloskey. 1985. The Rhetoric of Economics, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI.
Chapters 1, 2, and 3, pp. 3–53.

Paul Feyerabend. 1970. “Consolations for the Specialist,” in Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, pp. 197–230, editied by Imre Lakatos and Alan Musgrave. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.

5. Two Pillars of Modern Economics C. Stefanadis [Feb 9]

Alchian, Armen. "Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory." Journal of Political Economy 58 (June 1950):211-21.

George J. Stigler and Gary S. Becker. “De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum” American Economic Review 67 (1977):76-90.

6. The Economics Profession 1 S. Aradhyula [Feb 16]

  • School & journal rankings
  • Journal of Economics Perspective, Journal of Economic Literature
  • Econ Lit database.

7. The Economics Profession 1 S. Aradhyula [Feb 23]

Aloysius Siow. “Tenure and Other Unusual Personnel Practices in Academia.” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 14 (1998): 152-173.

8. Articles in Agricultural Economics R. Tronstad [Mar 2]

  • 1 good & 1 bad TBA

9. Articles in Resource Economics G. Frisvold [Mar 9]

  • 1 good & 1 bad TBA
UA Spring Break: March 10-18

10. Articles in Economic Development C. Stefanadis [Mar 23]

  • 1 good & 1 bad TBA

11. Research in Process R. Tronstad [Mar 30]

  • Anonymous grants proposals.

12. Writing a ThesisG. Frisvold [April 6]

  • McCloskey, The Writing of Economics
  • comments by High & Borcherding in Economic Inquiry

13. Student Research Proposals G. Thompson, et al. [April 13]

14. Student Research Proposals C. Stefanadis, et al. [April 20]

15. Student Research ProposalsS. Aradhyula, et al. [April 27]

16. Student Research Proposals R. Tronstad, et al. [May 4]

Last updated January 16, 2007
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