Economics made fun

C.H.

Voici un appel à communication pour un colloque qui se tiendra à la fin de l’année et qui s’annonce intéressant :

Best-selling books such as Freakonomics and The Undercover Economist have paved the way to a flourishing economics-made-fun genre. The economics-made-fun genre first and foremost wants to enlighten the general public about the breadth and power of economic analysis in an accessible and entertaining way. It aims at boosting the public image of economics. Economics-made-fun books mostly focus on “outlandish” or “freakish” subjects, rather than the traditional subjects of economics. Given their popularity and success, these books not only reflect but also influence how young economists approach economics. The economics-made-fun genre has no monopoly on shaping the public image of economics, however. While the economics-made-fun books present economics as a strong and explanatory science, the latest economic crisis exposed the shortcomings of economics to the general public. In the face of the crisis, many people, including well-known economists such as Paul Krugman, started expressing their doubts concerning the success of economics as a science. Newspaper columns as well as academic papers discussed the predictive and explanatory failures of economics. The emerging picture is somewhat confusing: Economics is presented as a way of thinking that is successful in explaining everyday and “freaky” phenomena, but on the other hand it seems to fail in addressing and explaining the most pressing economic matters. Could a science that cannot answer its core questions explain the logic of life?

The aim of the present symposium is to get a handle on this confusing picture of economics. We invite papers that appraise, criticize, or evaluate the economics-made-fun genre from the perspective of the nature, scope and success (or failure) of economics as a science. Papers that focus on the methodology, philosophy and ideology behind the economics-made-fun genre, its impact on research and public image of economics, as well as papers that put the genre in a historical perspective are welcome. We are also open to papers that focus on yet other aspects of the economics-made-fun-genre.

Sur le sujet, il faut lire ce papier de Jack Vromen qui propose notamment une réflexion très intéressante sur le fait de savoir si les travaux du genre « economics made fun » relèvent de l’impérialisme économique. Vromen montre bien que poser les débats en ces termes est erroné et que surtout le cadre d’analyse des économistes s’est considérablement flexibilisée afin de permettre l’intégration de concepts en provenance d’autres sciences et non l’inverse (la « cannibalisation » des autres sciences par l’économie). Je mettrai toutefois un bémol à la thèse de Vromen… mais je le garde pour un prochain billet !

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