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Omicron Delta Epsilon John R. Commons Award Lecture

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 5, 2018 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Marriott Philadelphia Downtown, Meeting Room 305
Hosted By: Omicron Delta Epsilon
  • Chair: Alan P. Grant, Baker University

The Scope and Method of Applied Policy Economics: The Courage to be Utopian

David C. Colander
Middlebury College


David C. Colander will give an address entitled "The Scope and Method of Applied Policy Economics: The Courage to Be Utopian" in honor of his receipt of the John R. Commons Award. In the address he will argue that while economists’ applied work plays an important technical role in policy making, because of their attempt to follow a scientific methodology in their applied work, too often that applied work focuses on narrow technical questions, dotting i’s and crossing t’s, rather than exploring creative new solutions to the major problems facing society. Creative policy making requires economists to not be limited by scientific methodology, and to use an applied policy methodology that integrates philosophical truths, scientific truths, and hunches. It requires them to explore a domain of economic policy within which most economists have feared to tread for the last 100 years. It will require applied economists to think of themselves not as scientists, but as artists and craftspeople who have to courage to be utopian.
JEL Classifications
  • A1 - General Economics