Why Economists Do Not Make Discoveries

  • Edmond Malinvaud
Part of the International Economic Association Series book series (IEA)


Methodology has an ambiguous position in science. On the one hand, it appears as a soft part in any discipline it is discussing:1 the statements are more disputable than in the substantial parts of the discipline; they are mainly meant to define the legitimate domains of the use of existing scientific practices, rather than to change these practices fundamentally; thus methodology follows rather than leads scientific progress. On the other hand, methodology is an unvoidable part of science: since research is a collective activity, scientists must aim at agreement on the objectives pursued; they need norms of significant achievement and good practice; when various schools co-exist, they may disagree with each other more about some objective or norm than on substantial issues. Many objectives and norms are common to all disciplines, whether they are in the natural or the social sciences; but each discipline also has its own features, implying particular ways of looking at problems and scientific behaviour.


Natural Science Household Saving Direct Knowledge Penn World Table Perfect Competition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Blanchflower, D. and Oswald, A. (1994) The Wage Curve (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press).Google Scholar
  2. Blaug, M. (1980) The Methodology of Economics: Or How Economists Explain (Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  3. Deaton, A. (1992) Understanding Consumption (Oxford University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hausman, D. (1992) The Inexact and Separate Science of Economics (London: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hey, J. (ed.) (1992) The Future of Economics (Oxford: Basil Blackwell).Google Scholar
  6. Kagel, J. and Roth, A. (1995) (eds) The Handbook of Experimental Economics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).Google Scholar
  7. Malinvaud, E. (1990) ‘Microéconomie et macroéconomie relèvent — elles des mêmes principes méthodologiques’, in Assocation Française de Science Economique, La méthodologie de l’economie théorique et appliquée aujourd’hui (Paris: Nathan).Google Scholar
  8. Phillips, A. (1958) ‘The Relation Between Unemployment and the Rate of Change of Money Wage Rates in the United Kingdom, 1861–1957’, Economica, November.Google Scholar
  9. Robbins, L. (1935) An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science (London: Macmillan).Google Scholar
  10. Summers, R. and Heston, A. (1991) ‘The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons (1950–1988)’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, May.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Economic Association 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edmond Malinvaud
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre De Recherche en Economie et StatistiqueINSEEFrance

Personalised recommendations