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How to get published in top economics journals …

Summary:
How to get published in top economics journals … The reality is that the mainstream follow a formulaic approach to publications in macroeconomics that goes something like this: Assert without foundation – so-called micro-foundations – rationality, maximisation, rational expectations – imposed assumptions about human behaviour that no sociologist or psychologist would remotely recognise. These foundations cannot deal with real world people so assume there is just one infinitely-lived agent! Assert efficient, competitive markets as the optimality benchmark against which all other states will be assessed – in other words, abstract from the reality of existence. Write some trivial mathematical equations and solve – professional mathematicians shrink with

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How to get published in top economics journals …

The reality is that the mainstream follow a formulaic approach to publications in macroeconomics that goes something like this:

    How to get published in top economics journals …
  • Assert without foundation – so-called micro-foundations – rationality, maximisation, rational expectations – imposed assumptions about human behaviour that no sociologist or psychologist would remotely recognise.
  • These foundations cannot deal with real world people so assume there is just one infinitely-lived agent!
  • Assert efficient, competitive markets as the optimality benchmark against which all other states will be assessed – in other words, abstract from the reality of existence.
  • Write some trivial mathematical equations and solve – professional mathematicians shrink with embarrassment when they see the naive formality that economists think is state of art.
  • Policy shock the optimal ‘solution’ to ‘prove’, for example, that fiscal policy is inneffective (Ricardian equivalence) and austerity is good. Perhaps allow some short-run stimulus effect.
  • Get some data but realise poor fit – add some ad hoc lags (price stickiness etc) to improve ‘fit’ but end up with identical long-term results – of course, once you add these ad hoc lags the ‘micro founded’ framework, which is the ‘authority’ that is used to claim ‘scientific’ standing is abandoned.
  • Irrespective of that abandonment, maintain pretense that micro-foundations are intact – after all it is the only claim to intellectual authority that these mainstream economists have – which is no claim at all in reality.
  • Publish articles that reinforce starting assumptions.
  • Get appointments, promotion
  • Write commissioned reports (with fees and sponsors largely undisclosed) about how stable the financial sector etc is – parade the reports as independent academic research – and demand more deregulation, cutting of income support systems etc under the guise of ‘structural reform’.
  • Knowledge quotient of all this – ZERO – GIGO.
  • Bill Mitchell
Lars Pålsson Syll
Professor at Malmö University. Primary research interest - the philosophy, history and methodology of economics.

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