The Required Quantitative Skills

  • Charles A. S. Hall
  • Kent A. Klitgaard


Most of the time economists do not “do science.” Rather they tell stories dressed up in mathematics. Neoclassical economists mostly tell stories of the magic of market self regulation. Keynesian economists tell stories about how correct amounts of spending, taxing, and money creation can balance an otherwise unstable economy and lead to economic growth. If you want to understand the economist’s story you should learn the requisite mathematics. Perhaps more importantly, if you want economists to listen to your story, you need to learn to present it in a language they understand and respect. If you can’t express yourself mathematically then most economists will not even bother to listen to your story, no matter how compelling or well-supported by evidence. Even if presented with mathematical elegance mainstream economists may still reject your story if it conflicts too badly with theirs. But at least speaking the language of mathematics will give you a fighting chance of being listened to. Far too many economists arrogantly dismiss the analyses of other social scientists whose valuable insights are expressed primarily in words or oral histories.


Neoclassical Economist Mathematical Skill Scientific Rigor Mainstream Economic Mathematical Rigor 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Environmental & Forest Biology and Graduate Program in Environmental Science College of Environmental Science & ForestryState University of New YorkSyracuseUSA
  2. 2.Social SciencesWells CollegeAuroraUSA

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