Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 3 No. 4 (Fall 1989)


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Research on the Economics Profession

Article Citation

Colander, David. 1989. "Research on the Economics Profession." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 3(4): 137-148.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.3.4.137


In this article, I survey some recent contributions to research on the profession, both to bring nonspecialists up to date on what is being done and to inform specialists of other researchers who are doing similar work. The economics profession is interesting to economists for a number of interrelated reasons: 1) For prurient and professional interest: It is fun to know about oneself and one's profession. 2) As a case study: If economic theory is correct, it should apply to the economics profession. Since economists have firsthand knowledge of the economics profession and relatively easy access to data, it makes an excellent case study. 3) Because one has an interest in the sociology of knowledge: Recent developments in methodology and philosophy of science have made a knowledge of the scientists an important aspect of a knowledge of science; they are the lens through which science is interpreted. Understanding the tendency of scientists to aim that lens in particular directions and to distort the reality they are studying is necessary if one is to interpret their analyses correctly. These three reasons are interrelated, of course, and knowledge for one reason is often useful for others. But the division provides a useful way of organizing research about the profession.

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Colander, David (Middlebury Col)

JEL Classifications

011: General Economics


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