Last week the 8th volume of the New School Economic Review (NSER) was released! This was a huge accomplishment for us after having worked on this issue for a whole year. The issue had a record number of submissions, so we have had to coordinate with a growing number of reviewers to make sure we gave each submission a fair assessment. We’re very pleased with the final outcome, so please take a look! This is the second volume I have worked on as Executive Editor (also volume 7), but I am now stepping down in order to give others the opportunity to do this job as well as to give myself more time to work on my own research. You can still submit to Vol. 9: The deadline is March 15th!
In the wake of the release of a critical book on Neoclassical Economics in Norway, a heated debate on the state of the field of Economics has unfolded in Norwegian media. Norwegian Economics Professors argue that they are not Neoclassical (although they use Neoclassical methods such as general equilibrium analysis), that it’s impossible to do Economics outside of an equilibrium framework, and that alternative theories are so small that they are not worth teaching. My Norwegian colleague at The New School, Ebba Boye, and I entered the debate last week, by pointing out that Economics has not always been synonymous to Neoclassical Economics, that there are non-Neoclassical theories that have strong explanatory power, and that it is possible – and desirable! – to learn a variety of Economic theories in one degree program. Here’s our Op-ed in the Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen: Økonomisk innsikt utenfor mainstream.
Some colleagues in the YSI Economic Development group and I organized a discussion with economic historian Morten Jerven a couple of weeks ago, which was interesting and thought-provoking. The talk was largely based on his book Africa: Why Economists Get It Wrong. Here are some reactions we had to the presentation.
Can development goals help development finance? If so, how? (Righting Finance, October 20th, 2015)
Globale mål: Hvorfor, hvordan og for hvem? (Ny Tid, November 12th 2015)
FNs bærekraftsmål: Manglende kobling mellom mål og middel (Gjeldsbrevet, December 15th 2015)
In addition, there’s the FT article from this summer that I wrote with Sanjay Reddy on the same topic: Does the world really need development goals?
New School Professor Sanjay Reddy and are publishing our paper on global goals today. We raise some basic conceptual questions regarding global development goals: Why have them at all? What function, if any, might they serve, and under what conditions could they do so successfully? Based on our answers to these questions, we identify serious inadequacies in the contemporary approach to development goals and relate these to weaknesses in how the goals were conceived and formulated. Despite these failings, higher-level goals may play a useful role if the practical approach to them is embedded in a holistic and integrated vision of a better world. Focusing on goals rather than targets opens needed space for flexibility, innovation, and fuller democratic accountability.
On August 28th 2015, Professor Sanjay Reddy and I published an op-ed on the Financial Times blog, BeyondBrics. In the op-ed we discuss the purpose of global development goals, as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are about to be adopted. Read a slightly extended version on Sanjay Reddy’s blog.
In a new blog post on New School Economic Review, I discuss the challenges of teaching both orthodox and heterodox economics in one single Economics class. This blog post proceeded to go viral and has been shared on social media over 4000 times to date. Someone also translated it to Spanish.
Collin Constantine (SOAS) and I have recently published a book review of Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson’s (2001) famous ‘Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty.’ Our paper finds significant flaws in the methodology employed by Acemoglu et al., for example with the proxies used for wealth in 1500, with the oversimplified historical framework it relies on, and with their idea of ‘institutions’. We argue that attributing successful development to private property rights obscures the complexity of development processes through history and that Acemoglu et al.’s understanding of ‘good institutions’ fails to capture the type of institutions that existed in the now advanced countries when they were developing.
Read the complete review in the 7th edition of The New School Economic Review (open access).
After a ton of work over the span of a year, the editorial team of the New School Economic Review (which I am a part of) launched the 10 year anniversary issue and had a launch event at The New School. NSSR Dean Will Milberg, Abid Khan, Alexandria Eisenbarth and I made the introductions, while Professors Anwar Shaikh and Ben Fine presented their work. You can read about the event here and download the journal here.
Watch the video here: