The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Ideology

  • Kurt Klappholz
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-349-95189-5_962

Abstract

Now and then one comes across the claim that, unlike, for example, physics, ‘economics is thoroughly permeated by ideology …’ (Ward 1979, p. viii). The exact import of this claim regarding the epistemological status of economics is not clear, since the noun ‘ideology’ is employed in a variety of senses. However, it should be stressed at once that, despite occasional criticisms (e.g. McCloskey 1983, p. 334), most economists long ago accepted Hume’s insistence that policy proposals cannot be deduced from descriptive statements alone (Klappholz 1964) and have therefore stressed the distinction between positive and normative economics. The claim discussed in this essay appears to be directed at both the positive, as well as the normative, parts of economics, but we shall be concerned mainly with its import for positive economics. In section I we interpret the claim that economics is ideological as the view that economic theories can be explained by the social position and attitudes of those who put them forward, that is, by the Sociology of Knowledge (discussed critically in Popper 1957, chs 23 and 24). In section II we consider the suggestion that ideology is pseudo-science. In section III we consider it as consisting of non-scientific views. Finally, in section IV, we draw on the preceding discussion to appraise the claim that economists’ policy proposals are ideological.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Bibliography

  1. Blaug, M. 1980. The methodology of economics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Friedman, M. 1953. Essays in positive economics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Hausman, D.M. 1981. Are general equilibrium theories explanatory? In Philosophy in economics, ed. J. Pitt. Dordrecht: D. Reidel. Reprinted in The Philosophy of economics, ed. D.M. Hausman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.Google Scholar
  4. Kearl, J.R., C.L. Pope, G.T. Whiting, and L.T. Wimmer. 1979. A confusion of economists. American Economic Review 69(2): 28–37.Google Scholar
  5. Klappholz, K. 1964. Value judgments and economics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, August. Reprinted in The philosophy of economics, ed. D.M. Hausman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.Google Scholar
  6. Klappholz, K. 1968. What redistribution may economists discuss? Economica 35(May): 194–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Klappholz, K., and J. Agassi. 1959. Methodological prescriptions in economics. Economica, February. Reprinted in Readings in microeconomics, ed. D.R. Kamerschen. New York: 1967.Google Scholar
  8. Lakatos, 1. 1978. Introduction. In The methodology of scientific research programmes, philosophical papers. Vol. I, ed. G. Currie and J. Worral. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Leamer, E.E. 1983. Let’s take the con out of econometrics. American Economic Review, March. Reprinted in Appraisal and criticism in economics, ed. B. Caldwell. London: Allen & Unwin, 1984.Google Scholar
  10. McCloskey, D.N. 1983. The rhetoric of economics. Journal of Economic Literature, June. Reprinted in Appraisal and criticism in economics, ed. B. Caldwell. London: Allen & Unwin, 1984.Google Scholar
  11. Mingat, A., P. Salmon, and A. Wolfelsperger. 1985. Methodologie économique. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  12. Popper, K.R. 1957. The open society and its enemies, vol. II, 3rd ed. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  13. Popper, K.R. 1959. The logic of scientific discovery. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  14. Popper, K.R. 1976. The myth of the framework. In The abdication of philosophy: Philosophy and the public good, ed. E. Freeman. La Salle: Open Court.Google Scholar
  15. Robinson, J. 1962. Economic philosophy. London: Watts. Reprinted London: Pelican Books, 1964.Google Scholar
  16. Rosenberg, A. 1976. Micro-economic laws: A philosophical analysis. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  17. Schumpeter, J. 1949. Science and ideology. American Economic Review, March. Reprinted in The philosophy of economics, ed. D.M. Hausman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.Google Scholar
  18. Ward, B. 1979. The ideal world of economics: Liberal radical and conservative economic world views. London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wiles, P. 1979–80. Ideology, methodology, and neoclassical economics. Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Winter. Reprinted in Why economics is not a ecience, ed. A.S. Eichner. New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1983.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt Klappholz
    • 1
  1. 1.