Claims I made to David Levy yesterday

The richness of early twentieth century economic thought remains to be fully appreciated by historians of ideas.  Pigou, Wicksteed, Pareto and many others led a behavioral revolution. rooted in Smith and Jevons.  Veblen’s best work was splendid, but it was less of an outlier than is usually thought.  Duesenberry and Scitovsky drew directly on these earlier traditions.  "Freakonomics" was common, albeit with lower-tech statistics.  The notion of economics as household behavior dates from Aristotle and was never lost.  Marshall was in reality an institutionalist.  Experimental economics comes from William James and Edward Chamberlain.  The real question is how so much got lost in the 1940s and onwards.  Contemporary economics is oddly conservative, moving back to the 1900-1930 period in its emphases.


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