Bretton Woods, Past and Present: 2. Progress in Economics


Ok, time to deal with the elephant in the room: when is one theory better than the other? What is progress in economics?

Is it not repeating the mistakes of the 1930s? Is it a more refined equilibrium concept? Lower p-values and higher t-statistics? More predictive power? Or is progress in economics simply an intuitive hunch that the present theory is better than the previous one?

If economics were a game of a few high-minded professors, the matter would have little meaning for the rest of us. But economics does profoundly influence every corner of our lives. Thus, if there’s anything students should learn in their proverbial Economics 101, it is what defines progress in economics.

Quite frankly, we don’t know the answer. So we asked a few of the most eminent members of our discipline instead.

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