• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Would you describe economics as a science?

Extracts from this document...


Would you describe economics as a science? Economics is commonly classed as a social science. It is subject which is not comparable to any other. It is very difficult to place economics is one category as its roots lie in several different fields. Most definitions agree that a science must generate models that accurately predict real life outcomes. They also agree that these models must be testable. Nobel prize-winner Maurice Allais stated that the "essential condition of any science is the existence of regularities which can be analysed and forecast". To find out whether economics is a science we must find out if the subject generates such models. Much debate has gone into whether economics generates such testable models. Philosophers such as Popper and Kuhn had different ideas, but neither could convincingly explain how scientific knowledge is obtained. Popper believed scientific knowledge must be testable empirically. He had the Platonic view that if a theory can be refuted then we can be sure that it is not true. A theory that is tested empirically and not refuted is retained and gains credibility, but not accepted as fact. He also believed that if predictions are falsified then the theory should be abandoned. Kuhn's views are discussed later on. The big problem with economic models is that they are dependant upon the actions of individual people. ...read more.


Kuhn argued that with benefit of hindsight that science, as a human activity is heavily influenced by sociological. Kuhn believed in a cyclical process of obtaining scientific knowledge. This first part of this cycle would be a period of chaos (anarchy). During this period of chaos some methods would begin to appear more successful, which would lead to some agreement. People would then start to identify with a particular theory/ set of theories. This agreement would lead them to ask similar questions, confront similar problems, and employ similar methods to solve them. This would a period of normal science in which there would be a dominance of one type of idea, a paradigm. Problems would be found and solved and so progress is tangible. At the present time, the dominant paradigm in economics is neoclassicism. The basic concepts in (neoclassical) economics in are marginality, rationality, maximisation and equilibrium. All of these terms are scientific in origin or at the very least suggestive of scientific rigour. All of the founders of neoclassical economics (Edgeworth, Jevons, Pareto, Marshall) had mathematical/scientific training, showing that neoclassical economics has its origins in science. Mirowski stated that "the rise of energetics in physical theory induced the intervention of neoclassical economic theory by providing the metaphor, the mathematical techniques, and the new attitudes towards theory construction", showing that neoclassical economic theory was appropriated from mid-nineteenth century physics. ...read more.


An argument against the supposed objectivity of economic method is that there is doubt to whether objectivity can be attained by any individual in a social context. Finally, economists infamously do not typically abandon their theories as soon as counter evidence appears, so this seems to show that economic method is not critically open. Although neoclassical economics, the paradigm at the moment, seems to be scientific in its method, alternative theories appear to be much less scientific. A critic of modernist economics, Deirdre McCloskey argues that economists use rhetorical methods to argue their point of view in a variety of ways, many of them literary and non-scientific. These methods include debating and persuasion. However, another alternative theory, the "Austrian" approach, is far more analytical and places its emphasis on understanding as well as observation and therefore is more scientific. Overall, I think that at the present time economic is a science, as the dominant paradigm is neoclassicism. The strand of economics is scientific. However, other theories such as McCloskey's rhetorical approach are literary and therefore non- scientific. This means that economics can float between science and non-science depending upon the dominant paradigm of the time. However, economics has one property that no other science exhibits, the ability to control. Other scientists have to be content to observe, while economists are able to control and build up an economy from its building blocks. This leads to the conclusion that economics is "no more than on the edge of science". So economics at the moment is a special type of science. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Economy & Economics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Economy & Economics essays

  1. GCSE Economics Coursework

    But since the country is still using the Pound Stirling, this hasn't affected the Newsagent. There are social factors such as BSE or 'Mad cow Disease' scaring the public into reducing demand for certain products, but since the Newsagents best selling products are newspapers (Q1, and Q5,)

  2. Development Theories - Describe the Harrod-Domar model of growth

    The model suggests that a countries economic growth is dependent upon the level of saving and the capital-output ratio. The model concludes that economic growth depends on the amount of labour and capital.

  1. Split Votes: A Nation Divided on the Marijuana/Drug Legalization Debate

    The government's institutionalist policy of closely regulating narcotics is not to protect the people from economic bads and harmful interactions. Prohibition is a moral critical habit that policy makers and many citizens cannot kick. Though the government tries to make prohibition seem logical and fundamentally and monetarily right, Ms.

  2. An Empirical Investigation into the Causes and Effects of Liquidity in Emerging

    For example, around May 10th 2004 when US non-farm payroll data was released, leading to the fear of an imminent interest rate rise by the Federal Reserve because the data was much stronger than was anticipated. Consequently changes in liquidity and volatility in emerging bond markets were experienced.8 Credit risk is an important consideration for both markets.

  1. Fundamentals of Managerial Economics

    The remaining 50% of imported crude oil comes from non OPEC countries. Of these countries the top three producers are: Canada (1,569), Mexico (1,565), and Angola (325). These statistics are according to The Energy Information Administration's website. Taken from Table 49 Net Imports of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products into

  2. Option Pricing Models

    On one hand, the continuous-time model can serve as the limit of a certain GARCH model. For example, Nelson(1990a) showed that the GARCH (1,1) model converged to a certain diffusion model. Duan (1996) argued that most of the existing bivariate diffusion models that had been used to model asset

  1. Compare and contrast, the assumptions, the predictions and the policy implications of the IS/LM ...

    rate of interest from r1 to r2 where higher national income rates are associated with higher rates of interest and vice-versa. Therefore higher national income will lead to greater demand for money and hence higher interest rates if equilibrium is to be maintained in the money market.

  2. The economics of smoking

    appears to be much more stable, albeit in slight decline. Recent research depicts that according to economic theory demand of cigarettes in the UK is influenced primarily by price and promotion (in all its manifestations) and there is evidence that price and promotion influence consumption among existing smokers.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work