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Histoire de la pensée économique

  • Teacher(s):   H.Maas  
  • English title: History of Economic Thought
  • Course given in: French
  • ECTS Credits: 6 credits
  • Schedule: Autumn Semester 2021-2022, 4.0h. course (weekly average)
  •  sessions
  • site web du cours course website
  • Related programmes:
    Bachelor (BSc) in Economic Sciences

    Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Management

    Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Economics
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Objectives

The objective is to trace the history of contemporary economics as an academic and scientific discipline and to seek to understand how it has taken its present form while highlighting the changing links over time between the public and political aspects of economic discourse and the ideas and practices of economists. This involves three learning objectives:

  1. Students gain an understanding of issues related to the development of economics as a discipline in relation to other academic disciplines.
  2. Students gain an understanding of the development of the economists' "toolbox".
  3. Students are able to situate economics as a discipline in its social and historical context.

Contents

This course is devoted to the historical development of economic ideas between the 18th and 20th centuries. It examines how, over time, public discourse about economics has developed as an academic discipline in its own right and how, in specific but changing historical contexts, economic ideas have fluctuated as the practices of economists have changed. In particular, we will discuss the transition from economics as a literary discipline to economics as an exact scientific discipline where statistical and mathematical methods are becoming commonplace.
The course is divided into three parts, the first of which covers classical political economy, the second the "marginalist revolution" This course is devoted to the historical development of economic ideas between the 18th and 20th centuries. It examines how, over time, public discourse about economics has developed as an academic discipline in its own right and how, in specific but changing historical contexts, economic ideas have fluctuated as the practices of economists have changed. In particular, we will discuss the transition from economics as a literary discipline to economics as an exact scientific discipline where statistical and mathematical methods are becoming commonplace.
The course is divided into three parts, the first of which covers classical political economy, the second the "marginalist revolution" and the third the development of the econometric and mathematical formalisms of modern economic science.
In the first part, the work of, among others, François Quesnay, Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Karl Marx will be discussed and their historical context will be recalled. In the second part, the marginalist revolution of the 1870s will be discussed by first comparing the contributions and practices of John Stuart Mill with those of Stanley Jevons, which will allow us to highlight the links and differences between classical and marginalist economics. Next, the work of Stanley Jevons will be compared with that of Carl Menger and John Bates Clark, allowing us to identify important differences between the creators of marginalist economics, which developed in distinct intellectual and national contexts.The second part of the course will conclude with an overview of the lives and work of three economists who embody seminal developments in the discipline: Thorstein Veblen in the United States, as well as John Maynard Keynes in England and Friedrich von Hayek in Austria/England/USA. In the third part of the course, the emergence of econometrics and mathematical economics will be discussed. The contrasts between the econometrics of the Dutchman Jan Tinbergen and that of the American Milton Friedman as well as the differences between the operational mathematical economics of the American Paul Samuelson and the formal mathematical economics of the naturalized Hungarian-and the third the development of the econometric and mathematical formalisms of modern economic science.
In the first part, the work of, among others, François Quesnay, Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Karl Marx will be discussed and their historical context will be recalled. In the second part, the marginalist revolution of the 1870s will be discussed by first comparing the contributions and practices of John Stuart Mill with those of Stanley Jevons, which will allow us to highlight the links and differences between classical and marginalist economics. Next, the work of Stanley Jevons will be compared with that of Carl Menger and John Bates Clark, allowing us to identify important differences between the creators of marginalist economics, which developed in distinct intellectual and national contexts.The second part of the course will conclude with an overview of the lives and work of three economists who embody seminal developments in the discipline: Thorstein Veblen in the United States, as well as John Maynard Keynes in England and Friedrich von Hayek in Austria/England/USA. In the third part of the course, the emergence of econometrics and mathematical economics will be discussed. The contrasts between the econometrics of the Dutchman Jan Tinbergen and that of the American Milton Friedman as well as the differences between the operational mathematical economics of the American Paul Samuelson and the formal mathematical economics of the naturalized Hungarian-American John von Neumann and that of the naturalized French-American Gérard Debreu will be discussed. The third part of the course will end with a discussion of the work of Kenneth Arrow and Thomas Schelling in information economics and that of Vernon Smith and Daniel Kahneman in experimental and behavioural economics.

References

  • Harro Maas, 2015. Methodology in economics: a historical introduction. (syllabus).
  • The original texts (posted on moodle and available as syllabus).

Evaluation

First attempt

Exam:
Without exam (cf. terms)  
Evaluation:

In the first two parts of the course, students will be asked to discuss the compulsory primary readings for each session. The form of the discussions will be decided during the first session of the course. In the third part of the course, there will be more ex cathedra lectures.

On the basis of this dynamic, the students will write four essays, in the form of continuous assessments. Each essay will count for 20% of the final grade. Participation in the discussion of the essays will be evaluated and will count for 20% of the final grade.


Retake

Exam:
Written 3h hours
Documentation:
Allowed
Calculator:
Allowed
Evaluation:

In case of a resit, the student will have to do a written exam, with documentation allowed.



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