On Operationalisms and Economics

  title={On Operationalisms and Economics},
  author={D. Wade Hands},
  journal={Journal of Economic Issues},
  pages={953 - 968}
  • D. W. Hands
  • Published 1 December 2004
  • Economics
  • Journal of Economic Issues
Most writers on economic methodology tell essentially the same story about "operationalism." Operationalism was the philosophy of science popularized by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Percy Bridgman; the main text was his Logic of Modern Physics, originally published in 1927, but a number of different variants of the program appeared in the literature during the period 1930-1950. There was never a definitive rejection of the program, but because of technical difficulties and also because of… 
Samuelson’s operationally meaningful theorems: reflections of E. B. Wilson’s methodological attitude
Abstract This paper sheds new light on Samuelson’s early methodology as presented in his Foundations of Economic Analysis (1947) by reflecting on the similarity between his mathematical economics and
Re-Examining Samuelson's Operationalist Methodology
During the heyday of discussion about Milton Friedman's 1953 methodology paper, Samuelson's operationalism was often discussed as the primary competitor to Friedman's position. Although Friedman's
This thesis explores the history of the relationship between economics and both experimental and social psychology, from the viewpoint of the recent development of “the economics of happiness”
Comment on Geoffrey M. Hodgson’s “What Are Institutions?”
This comment argues a point that may seem obvious to some readers. Hodgson's definition of "institutions" is best understood by situating his theory within the larger intellectual context of the
Is Pragmatism Good for Anything? Towards a Theory of Impractical Economics
This article discusses the relationship between classical pragmatism, political economy and economic policy. Classical pragmatism is contrasted with vulgar meanings and uses of the term pragmatism.
Economics, Psychology and the History of Consumer Choice Theory
This paper examines elements of the complex place/role/influence of psychology in the history of consumer choice theory. The paper reviews, and then challenges, the standard narrative that psychology
Preferences and Positivist Methodology in Economics
I distinguish several doctrines that economic methodologists have found attractive, all of which have a positivist flavor. One of these is the doctrine that preference assignments in economics are
Leontief et l'économie comme science empirique : la « signification opérationnelle » des lois
From the 1930s, Leontief defended the validity of input-output analysis on the basis of a very specific epistemology: operationalism. Operationalism was not proper to Leontief but it was a common
Early Samuelson
This paper is a survey of the thirteen journal articles and notes that Paul Samuelson published prior to the defense of doctoral dissertation in 1941. These publications cover a wide range of topics
2006 HES Presidential address a Tale of two Mainstreams: Economics and Philosophy of Natural Science in the Mid-Twentieth Century
  • D. W. Hands
  • Economics
    Journal of the History of Economic Thought
  • 2007
HES Presidential addresses often attempt to answer a substantive question (or number of related questions) in the history of economic thought. The answers provided are not “answers” in the sense that


The Philosophical Bases of Institutionalist Economics
The precise nature of the relationship between the disciplines of economics and philosophy has yet to be explicated in detail. Certain family resemblances can be readily verified, and traced to a
Samuelson's operationalist-descriptivist thesis
This paper explores the influence of operationalism and its corollary, descriptivism, on Paul Samuelson's revealed preference theory as it developed between 1937 and 1948. Samuelson urged the
Dewey: Back to the Future
Institutional economics, especially the tradition associated with Clarence Ayres, claims John Dewey as an important part of its intellectual heritage. Many institutional economists rely entirely on
Operationism again
Grace's (2001) critical analysis of the use of operationism in psychology is founded on two basic claims. First, he argues that the main difficulty with mid-20th-century psychologists' interpretation
Of Immortal Mythological Beasts
It is practically an article of faith in psychology that in order to do empirical research one must first operationally define one's variables. However, the `operational attitude', first advocated by
John Dewey as User and Critic of Thorstein Veblen's Ideas
  • R. Tilman
  • Economics
    Journal of the History of Economic Thought
  • 1998
John Dewey (1859-1952) is easily the most influential philosopher America has produced and Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) is arguably the most influential American heterodox economist. Although
The Methodology of Institutional Economics: A Pragmatic Instrumentalist Perspective
Institutionalists engage in a very active, ongoing dialogue about methodological issues. Their preoccupation with methodology is motivated in part by their critique of mainstream economics. Since
How Economics Forgot History: The Problem of Historical Specificity in Social Science
Part I Introduction: the limitations of general theory the problem of historical specificity. Part II The nineteenth century: the German historical school and its impact Karl Marx and the specificity
A Note on the Pure Theory of Consumer's Behaviour
FROM its very beginning the theory of consumer's choice has marched steadily towards greater generality, sloughing off at successive stages unnecessarily restrictive conditions. From the time of
The Struggle over the Soul of Economics: Institutionalist and Neoclassical Economists in America Between the Wars
Acknowledgments Introduction: A Sociological Interpretation of the Modern History of Economics 2 The Neoclassical Era (1870-1914) from a Different Angle 3 Reconstructing the History of