Template talk:Economics sidebar

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Proposed re-simplification of 'Technical methods' section from 7 to 4 links below heading[edit]

or "JEL proportionate" vs. "fair synopsis" of 'Technical methods' section

Economics
GDP PPP Per Capita IMF 2008.svg
General categories

Microeconomics · Macroeconomics
History of economic thought
Methodology · Mainstream & heterodox

Technical methods
Mathematical economics
(F) Game theory · Optimization
(F) Computational · Econometrics
Experimental · National accounting
Fields and subfields

Behavioral · Cultural · Evolutionary
Growth · Development · History
International · Economic systems
Monetary and Financial economics
Public and Welfare economics
Health · Education · Welfare
(F) Population · Labour · Managerial

(F) Business · Information
Industrial organization · Law
Agricultural · Natural resource
Environmental · Ecological
Urban · Rural · Regional · Geography

Economics
GDP PPP Per Capita IMF 2008.svg
General categories

Microeconomics · Macroeconomics
History of economic thought
Methodology · Heterodox approaches

Technical methods
Mathematical · Econometrics
Experimental · National accounting
(A)

Fields and subfields

Behavioral · Cultural · Evolutionary
Growth · Development · History
International · Economic systems
Monetary and Financial economics
Public and Welfare economics
Health · Education · Welfare
(A) Population · Labour · Personnel
(A) Managerial · Computational
(A) Business · Information · Game theory
Industrial organization · Law
Agricultural · Natural resource
Environmental · Ecological
Urban · Rural · Regional · Geography

The following concerns templates (A) (favored by me) and (F), the current Econ sidebar[1], both to the right & labelled as to differences under consideration in this subsection. Recent removal of the Economic statistics link from the 'Technical methods' section in the Econ sidebar[2] is a convenient occasion for considering more broadly the number of lines & links in that template section. I number the following paragraphs for ease of reference (if that's necessary per discussion below).

1T. I'd like to make a case for returning from 7 links and 4 lines in (F) to 4 links and 2 lines in (A) for the technical-methods section with 2 links in (F) migrating to the "Fields & Subfields" section of (A) below & the addition of Personnel economics reflected in (A), for a total of one fewer lines in (A) compared to (F).

1T1. The object of (A) is an austere parsimony (economy!) and simplicity in the 'Technical methods' section, esp. appropriate for accessibility of the sidebar to the curious general reader. (Note: The 4-links-only of (A) in 'Technical methods' is not new. It is the same as for sidebar from November 2008 to October 2010, which followed a fairly lengthy discussion among 5 editors in 2008 at Template talk:Economics sidebar/Archive 1#Proposed edit stemming from "Methodologies" section when "Game theory" was also placed in the (A) position, which similarly helped to simplify that earlier section.

1T2. (A) and (F) represent different paradigms. The heading link for that section is JEL classification codes#Mathematical and quantitative methods JEL: C Subcategories. (A) is "JEL proportionate" in the sense of having no more than 2 lines and 4 links. None of the subject links in the template exceeds those numbers as to the 19 primary JEL classification codes categories and subcategories. The added 2 lines and 3 links in (F) over (A) arguably bog down the general reader to whom presumably the template should be appealing in the 'Technical methods' section. Another discussant earlier argued for the added links as going toward a "fair synopsis" of 'Technical methods' section. The heading link to JEL section with detailed links arguably makes so much detail unnecessary.

1T3. The first paragraph of Mathematical economics rightly cites the advantages of clarity, generality, and simplicity noted in the footnotes there as to application of mathematics to economics. Similarly Paul Samuelson and William Nordhaus in their influential introductory economics textbook describes econometrics as allowing economists "to sift through mountains of data to extract simple relationships." (2004, 18th ed., p. 5). I believe that most general readers and most economists would, in the present context, see an advantage in representing the Technical methods of the sidebar section with similar simplicity.

1T4. Moving down Game theory and Computational economics to the "Fields & subfields" section further greatly simplifies the 'Technical methods' section and places those subjects in a narrative context relative to preceding and succeeding links that might not be obvious otherwise, thereby increasing information to the general reader as to their connections to nearby economics (sub)fields.

1T4.1. One unnecessary & muddy nested hierarchy is thereby avoided, namely that in the 'Technical methods' in going from the Math econ to the subareas of Game theory etc. Instead, "Fields & subfields" serves the the same function for Game theory and Comput. econ but more simply (one less hierarchical device).

As to further particulars:

2T. Per JEL classification codes#Mathematical and quantitative methods JEL: C Subcategories link for the 'Technical methods' section, there is no current disagreement expressed on this Talk page on inclusion of Math econ, Econometrics, & Experimental economics in that section.

3T. National accounting/national accounts is usually discussed at the beginning the macro section of Econ Principles textbooks, which argues for its appropriateness in the 'Technical methods' section per economic data referred to in the JEL classification codes, so it was argued at Template talk:Economics sidebar#Placement of National accounting in "Methods" or "Fields & subfields" section of Template? and Template talk:Economics sidebar#Economic data v. Economic statistics as template links below.

3T1. In particular, depending on emphasis, National accounting may be properly classified in the JEL classification codes#Mathematical and quantitative methods JEL: C Subcategories at JEL: C8, found via the 'Technical methods' link. True, not all economic data are discussed there, but economic data does have a prominent link in the Lead there and in the last paragraph of National accounting#Scope, where other prominent macro measures such as the CPI and the unemployment rate in relation to national accounts measures.

4T. Computational economics is surely something Econ grad students or researchers might be interested in, but a more specialized component of the approach has its own section in Mathematical economics#Agent-based computational economics, about the same length as the Game-theory section, making that part of computational economics (in particular its 2nd paragraph) redundant in the Tech. methods section of the Econ sidebar. In a similar vein:

5T. The Mathematical economics#Mathematical optimization sub-section (including 3 sub-sub-sections) now incorporates most of the Mathematical optimization#Economics + more than 2X as much additional material as the sidebar link to Mathematical optimization#Economics. So, that arguably makes Mathematical optimization redundant in the template. Arguably, the Math econ article should be the go-to article as to Math. optim. in econ. That has added cogency given the (unique) Good-article ranking among general field/area-econ articles of Math econ. (I note as an aside the high quality of the Mathematical optimization, whose most frequent contributors are User:Rinconsoleao, an economist, and User:Kiefer.Wolfowitz, a major contributor to Mathematical economics.)

6T. What about the other part, "Fields & subfields"? (A) moves Computational econ to that section of the sidebar following Managerial economics. The latter mentions and links to computational econ at the end of the 1st paragraph, making the transition seamless. The 1st sentence of Computational economics is:

Computational economics is a research discipline at the interface between computer science and economic and management science (per fn. link there to Computational Economics)

That quotation also makes its connection to Managerial econ. clear enough, in effect providing an Econ. sidebar narrative as to the relation of the 2 subjects. Placement there in the sidebar arguably gives better context to the subject, rather than expecting the uninformed reader to make the connection.

7T. That leaves open appropriate placement of Game theory as between (A) & (F). By parallel argument, the higher-level discussion of GT in Math econ makes its placement of GT in that section less urgent, given the entré provided by the "Fields & subfields" section and a good place to put it. Now, if readers could be expected to read successively successive articles in the template, there would be no harm in its earlier placement. I just believe that ME gives the reader a chance to link GT there, and a pause (that refreshes?) later on under the "Fields & subfields" heading, which places GT in a relevant context of Information economics (whose last Lead paragraph a GT connection per games with perfect information, complete information, and incomplete information) and Industrial organization (per 2nd para. of IO with mention of the GT connection). It's not an accident that most econ principles texts that treat GT at all do so in connection with IO, since IO provides a vivid illustration as to uses of GT, for example, Paul Samuelson and William Nordhaus in their Economics textbook.

8T. The placement of Personnel economics after Labour economics is obvious, given the serious overlap now noted in each respective article. --Thomasmeeks (talk) 13:10, 12 January 2012 (UTC) + (1T4.1) above per another simplicity dimension of the proposal & (3T1) per discussion of national-accounts data & other econ. data as discussed in national accounts. --19:47, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

9T. I am restoring and reactivating this thread (currently referenced and linked to in the section that follows titled "Bad proposal") from archiving earlier today because of its possible relevance to future "Technical methods" section adds to which comments above might apply. Of course someone might make a proposal to add back something in the "Technical methods" section, but it may be reasonable to make more apparent what contrary arguments have been made above, the better to respond to them if a better contrary argument can be made. Thank you. --Thomasmeeks (talk) 11:15, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Adding "Schools of Thought" Section[edit]

Economics
GDP PPP Per Capita IMF 2008.svg
General categories

Microeconomics · Macroeconomics
History of economic thought
Methodology

B Schools of thought

Mainstream · Heterodox
Neoclassical · Keynesian
Austrian · Chicago school
Ecological · Feminist · Institutional
Marxian · New and Post-Keynesian
Socialist · Supply-side

Technical methods
Mathematical · Econometrics
Experimental · National accounting
Fields and subfields

Behavioral · Cultural · Evolutionary
Growth · Development · History
International · Economic systems
Monetary and Financial economics
Public and Welfare economics
Health · Education · Welfare
Population · Labour · Personnel
Managerial · Computational
Business · Information · Game theory
Industrial organization · Law
Agricultural · Natural resource
Environmental
Urban · Rural · Regional · Geography

Economics
GDP PPP Per Capita IMF 2008.svg
General categories

Microeconomics · Macroeconomics
A History of economic thought
Methodology · Heterodox approaches

Technical methods
Mathematical · Econometrics
Experimental · National accounting
Fields and subfields

Behavioral · Cultural · Evolutionary
Growth · Development · History
International · Economic systems
Monetary and Financial economics
Public and Welfare economics
Health · Education · Welfare
Population · Labour · Personnel
Managerial · Computational
Business · Information · Game theory
Industrial organization · Law
Agricultural · Natural resource
Environmental · Ecological
Urban · Rural · Regional · Geography

Hello! I am not a massively experienced Wikipedia editor, so please gently correct me on any process mistakes I'm making. But I have a proposed edit to the sidebar that I think I very important - namely, that I think a category called "Schools of Thought" or "Theoretical Approaches" or something like that should be added.

Justifications:

  • In academia, this is underlying framework for most arguments & debates. It is difficult to understand arguments over Coase's theorem or preferences or whatever without understanding that the people arguing are typically representing different schools of economic thought (typically neoclassical vs. New Keynesian, but obviously not always). Making this distinctions explicit will help lay readers understand many of the disagreements within economics. I think that this is actually one of the aspects of any discipline (and especially economics) that is the most difficult for lay readers to understand: economists spend a great deal of their time arguing from one theoretical standpoint against another, and thus the difference is very apparent to them, so they often don't clarify it - but to the lay reader, such distinctions are totally obscure, & make it difficult to understand what's at stake in what people are arguing about.
  • When a lay reader reads that someone is a "Keynesian" or a "neoclassical economist" in a given article, they will be able to scroll to the top of the page and easily see what other schools of thought that particular school of thought is constructed in opposition to. Again, words like "Keynesian" may make a lot of sense to you or I, but believe me, they totally confuse a lot of lay readers.
  • As the template stands right now, you have "heterodox economics" listed under the section "general categories." To me, this doesn't make sense: heterodox economics encapsulates micro, macro, and methodology, & thus doesn't make sense as a category alongside these. Oranges & apples. Same with "mainstream approaches" or whatever. These concepts don't fit in any of these sections.
  • The page Keynesian economics has been viewed 114K times in the last 30 days (making it the 3653rd-most-viewed page on en.wikipedia.org), Neoclassical economics has been viewed 26K times, Austrian school 30K times, etc. These are pretty high stats.

So: my proposal: add a section called "Schools of Thought"/"Theoretical Approaches" or something related. IMHO this section should contain (for each school I've included how many views it's gotten in the last 30 days):

I included any economic school of thought I could think of that had more than 4K views in the last 30 days; this cutoff is arbitrary, but at least it gives us an objective standard for including something or not including it. Thus, I excluded things like participatory economics, thermoeconomics, etc. I would strongly prefer that if any schools are added or taken away, that it be by raising or lowering this bar, not by including or excluding schools based on whether we think they're "important"; IMHO, we should defer to what Wikipedia users as a whole think is "important," which seems to me to be the most NPOV way of doing it.

I'm not including Evolutionary economics or Behavioral economics because I agree that those are fields of economics, not schools of thought, & thus belong in that existing section. But I am proposing removing ecological economics from the "Fields and subfields" category, and including it here; in my opinion, while environmental economics is a subfield (since any of these schools of thought can be applied to it), ecological economics is a separate way of looking at economics that precludes these other schools of thought.

Note that first listed the two categories of schools (mainstream & heterodox) then listed neoclassical & Keynesian economics, & then the rest in alphabetical order; I listed neoclassical & Keynesian economics first since these are by far the largest schools of thought in contemporary economics (and I'm saying this as a heterodox economist).

Also, note that I'm only including contemporary schools of economic thought - i.e., schools that economists today would self-identify with (as opposed to mercantilists, physiocrats, etc.). A division into historical & contemporary schools of thought could be interesting - but I'm not going to go down that road.

I included examples of what these edits would make the new sidebar look like, as others have done above. Yes, it would make the sidebar a lot longer - but like I say, I think this is as important as or more important than any of the other categories.

Thoughts? -CircleAdrian (talk) 23:53, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

I think it may be appropriate in a normally hidden dropdown box at the bottom of the template. Otherwise it would overemphasize divisions in economics, which are actually not as large as commonly perceived. LK (talk) 01:37, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
CircleAdrian, you're way experienced enough (per opening comment & commendably thorough discussion following). IMO there is much also to be said for discussion here first rather than using the Econ sidebar as a first resort for huge paradigm shift prior to thorough discussion. It is conceivable that any comments here might be moot in light of the above exchange & inaction that followed. I number the following for ease of reference.
1T. For convenience, I've labelled the comparative sidebars above (A) & (B) (the proposed sidebar). If asked to choose between them, I'd lean toward LK's suggestion. Still, I'd like to make a case for (A), that is, the current sidebar edit, on grounds of simplicity, non-duplication, and the premise that what-you-see-is-what-get is better in guiding users to the right articles. There is certainly duplication of the new links of (B) already embedded in Economics (section 7, "History"), Micro, Macro, History of economic thought (for example of Schools of economics in the 2nd sentence sentence and other schools throughout), and of course Heterodox economics (with the 1st paragraph having most of the added links of (B)). Supply-side & Mainstream econ are certainly convenient terms, but in an econ sidebar, they might smack of catering to journalistic shorthand. It's also somewhat misleading to suggest that neoclassical econ (or marginalism) is a current "school" of econ. (JEL classification codes#History of economic thought, methodology, and heterodox approaches JEL: B Subcategories doesn't even list neoclassical econ after 1925.) Relatedly, Heterodox econ for which "Heterodox approaches" (per the plural form) is the JEL classification codes term.
2T. IMO there's a case for (B) even diminishing the impact of Heterodox econ by moving the latter down into a crowded new section and away from the the "heavy-weight" "General categories" of Micro etc. Also, like a good part of the rest of the sidebar, (A) follows JEL classification codes grouping:
JEL: B - History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox approaches.
An advantage in grouping the last 2 links together is in suggesting their classification proximity to & distinction ('heterodox' = 'other' or non-'orthodox') from economic methodology more broadly. The connection of heterodox econ to its place in the HOET is also worth preserving in the sidebar.
3T. (A) is more proportional in space allotted to JEL: B in the sidebar than the division of JEL: B + big new section in (B). (A) is also consistent with:
JEL: Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics and in particular JEL: Q5, Environmental econ, which includes Ecological econ as a subcategory. The connection is in (A).
4T. The JEL codes have moved farther from "Schools of econ" terminology and made explicit the importance of heterodox econ in its corresponding primary classification in the 2010 update of JEL: B:
FROM: Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology
TO: History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox Approaches
(as noted at Talk:JEL classification codes#Help, please: What is the way to change Category name of JEL:B?). Arguably, the sidebar should reflect that too. --Thomasmeeks (talk) 22:43, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Recurrence of edit with multiple disputed format changes: wide, fragmented link lines etc.[edit]

(A) A1 Economics
GDP PPP Per Capita IMF 2008.svg
General categories

Microeconomics · Macroeconomics A3
History of economic thought
Methodology · Heterodox approaches

Technical methods
Mathematical · Econometrics
Experimental · National accounting
Fields and subfields

Behavioral · Cultural · Evolutionary
A4 Growth · Development · History
International · Economic systems
Monetary and Financial economics
Public and Welfare economics
A4 Health · Education · Welfare
Population · Labour · Personnel
Managerial · Computational
Business · Information · Game theory
Industrial organization · Law
A4 Agricultural · Natural resource
Environmental · Ecological
Urban · Rural · Regional · Geography

Lists

Economists  · Journals  · Publications
Categories  · Index  · Outline

A6 Business and economics portal
A7

A sidebar similar to (B) at the right 1st appeared in February 2012 with this opaque Edit summary:

convert to a proper {{sidebar}}.

It was reverted a month later to something like (A) with this comment (abridged):

...restores narrower & less obtrusive width of Sidebar, groups like subjects on same or adjoining lines [bolding added]

(B) reappeared 3 months ago (omitting undisputed changes since) with this Edit summary (abridged), and with no attempt to defend any of the multiple format changes reintroduced in it:

re-reimplement as a {{sidebar}}. If tiny, trivial matters of width and style are still disputed, please let me know why

The comment ignores the bolded portion above of the preceding edit summary and is unresponsive to the unbolded portion there. I dispute that the multiple changes between (A) and (B) are minor in the template. Otherwise, they would not be disputed.

I believe that each of the changes in sidebar (B) has disadvantages compared to (A). Let me elaborate on the above, numbering for ease of reference:

1T. The B4 lines in (B) are examples of lines that move up links from the previous line compared to their preceding (A) counterparts. This is has 2 effects, both bad. First, it makes the 3 subsequent B5 lines mostly white space, pointlessly unbalancing the text-line lengths. Second, it obscures the relation of the B5 subjects to the preceding moved-up subjects. In moving up a link to the preceding line, it misplaces relative to the corresponding JEL classification codes (all the B4 lines) and in this makes the relation of the line-separated subjects less clear, thus violating Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and navigation templates#Navigation templates (WP:NAVBOX) guidelines. 3 examples illustrate:

1st ex.: B4 History of economic thought  · Methodology
B5 Heterodox approaches

These 3 correspond to to the primary JEL triad of JEL: B - History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox Approaches. B5 disconnects the last two, obscuring their relation & distinction. The reasonable implicature that 'Heterodox approaches' refers to methods other than economic methodology is rendered more obscure by having them on different lines.

2nd ex.: A4 Growth · Development corresponds to:

JEL: O - Economic Development and Growth in the JEL classification codes. Yet at B5, the 2 are separated by a line, obscuring their relationship.

3rd ex.: A4 Health · Education · Welfare corresponds to:

JEL: I - Health, Education, and Welfare

but the corresponding B4 line unnecessarily breaks up the first 2.

2T. A1 at the top of sidebar A has a font large enough to distinguish it clearly from the headings that follow. B1 is larger than that and thus arguably less minimalist, [unnecessarily distracting from subsequent sidebar links, which the sidebar should instead facilitate].

B is similarly less minimalist (thus functional) than A at the headings (slightly taller and with white side-borders) and at B6.

A uses a subdued [darker] blue background for all 1-link boxes (at the top and bottom boxes, giving it a color consistency that B lacks and using top and bottom colors to indicate qualitative differences from the middle [1-link] boxes. B6 is much taller than other 1-link boxes (other than the title), adding to inconsistency.

3T. Throughout (B), lines end with a [bullet], for example B3. That's unnecessary, since breaking to a new line makes them redundant.

4T. A7 is also clearer than its B7 counterpart (fewer readers could be expected to know what V • T • E refers to). --Thomasmeeks (talk) 17:05, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

One amendment IMO worth incorporated into an updated version of (A7) (at the bottom of sidebar A) is to aligment the text to the right, just as in B7. TM 16:39, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
The sidebar has been standardised to be consistent with other Wikipedia sidebars. The suggestions given by editor Thomasmeeks and Thumperward on the talk page and edit summary were combined. Guest2625 (talk) 00:44, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Your comments above and sidebar edits moved the sidebar in the right direction IMO, may I say, G.
Let me make a few more points for the record. Some of the issues there may have already been resolved but not necessarily (per a revert). Others are to address the previous comment.
5T. Standardization can be a good thing if what is standardized is an improvement over what preceded it. But consistency with other sidebars may simply standardize similar problems. Let cite this relevant WP:NAVBOX guideline, which is listed first among advantages of navboxes (of a which a sidebar is one type):
Provides a consistent look and navigation system for related articles (though not between different topics — there is no single format across all navigation templates). (Italics added.)
The italicized end of the quote supports reasonable variation among sidebars, particularly where persuasive reasons have been provided for deviations from the Template:Sidebar default.
6T. Here's a more explicit explanation for what gave rise to sidebar B above. B used the top-down markup language from the Template:Sidebar to replace the bottom-up formatting of its predecessor, sidebar (A) above. The latter has the disadvantage requiring formatting statements at each new section, as the Edit mode of http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Template:Economics_sidebar&oldid=524274974 shows, whereas (B) uses parsimonious hierarchical formatting as at the edit mode of (B) at http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Template:Economics_sidebar&oldid=507254455. Unforunately (B) also dispensed with some simple or elegant fixes subsequently remedied by Frietjes (F.) on 11/28-29/12 per http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Template:Economics_sidebar&action=history.
7T. F. generously provided more fixes at Template talk:Sidebar#How to lower or override the minimum line-width default?, from which I have drawn. Of course, no edits of anyone here are necessarily immune to criticism. That's why there's critical rationalism but also the principle of charity, not to mention wp:guidelines, to facilitate discussion. Thank you. --Thomasmeeks (talk) 16:39, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
(A) Economics
GDP PPP Per Capita IMF 2008.svg
General categories

Microeconomics · Macroeconomics
History of economic thought
Methodology · Heterodox approaches

Technical methods
Mathematical · Econometrics
Experimental · National accounting
Fields and subfields

Behavioral · Cultural · Evolutionary
Growth · Development · History
International · Economic systems
Monetary and Financial economics
Public and Welfare economics
Health · Education · Welfare
Population · Labour · Personnel
Managerial · Computational
Business · Information · Game theory
Industrial organization · Law
Agricultural · Natural resource
Environmental · Ecological
Urban · Rural · Regional · Geography

Lists

Economists  · Journals  · Publications
Categories  · Index  · Outline

Business and economics portal

8T. For the record, to the right is a comparison of sidebar (A) at the top above (with older bottom-up formatting referred to in (6T)) and (A.1) that uses Template:Sidebar formatting (facilitated by User:Frietjes per 6T) & without the problems of sidebar (B) at the top per earlier numbered points). By the way, the look of (A) and hence (A.1), is mostly due fine work of Cretog8 and extraordinary care of Morphh in earlier edits. --Thomasmeeks (talk) 16:45, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Proposal to move "The economy" box to top as heading for Economies-by-country map[edit]

The proposal here is to go from the current sidebar (A.1) to (A.2) below. In (A.1), The economy: concept and history at the bottom is a stand-alone box and has the only such econ-article-sidebar link, because it does not fit under any of the headings above it. An argument for moving it up to the top just below Economics is that it would serve there as a heading-link between Economics above it and the Economies-by-country map below it. Having a heading for the map is also consistent with the heading/contents sequence of the sections that follow.

Also, at the bottom, The economy: concept and history might look like an afterthought to Economics. Arguably, the dimensions of an economy are anything but that. Economics as an academic field is concerned with study of phenomena in "the economy", whether at the local/micro or macro/world level and whether at a period in time or over time. Placement of the The economy box immediately after Economics represents by its juxtaposition a connection between the two. The shortened form of "The economy" in (A.2) is facilitated by its proximity to Economics above it and the Economies-by-country map that follows, which add context. The Economy article is conceptual and general while the Economies-by-country map is applied and particular in its elements (the respective economies by country) as is appropriate in a heading-contents relation.

'The economy' in (A.2) is arguably better than 'Economy' as a heading to distinguish the economy as an economic system from other uses, including the top of Economy (disambiguation) & the definitions at wiktionary:economy. Clarity arguably trumps an alleged WP:HEADINGS problem from use of 'The' in the heading.

The non-bold font of Economies by country in (A.2) (and unlike the bold of (A.1)) serves to distinguish it from the bold-like font in the heading above. In this respect the non-bold is consistent with the non-bold of links in contents boxes of sections that follow.

As in the previous section above, the heavy lifting of technical assistance to facilitate the formatting changes reflected in (A.2) was generously provided by Frietjes. Documentation and related prior discussion leading up to (A.2) is at Template talk:Sidebar#How to have a heading box appear before the top figure in the sidebar?. Comments are welcome. --Thomasmeeks (talk) 13:29, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Proposal to change the "General categories" heading link to JEL classification codes[edit]

Currently the "General categories" link of Template:Economics sidebar (as reproduced at the right) is Outline of economics. The proposal of this section is to replace that link with another, JEL classification codes (from the Journal of Economic Literature). Below are arguments for the proposal. Some points there are related to an earlier discussion now at Template talk:Economics sidebar/Archive 1#"General classifications"?, but circumstances have changed since then, and there are added arguments below that I hope warrant reconsidering the issue. I number the arguments for ease of reference.

1T. Anyone who links from the current Econ sidebar to Outline of economics via the "General categories" link will note from the bold black of the sidebar that Outline there is there twice in the Econ sidebar, 1st as the General categories link, 2nd under the Lists section as Outline. It is properly placed in the latter location (just as its counterpart is in Template:Psychology sidebar). It falls in the Category:Economics lists#Pages in category "Economics lists", right at top in fact. Its earlier names reflect that as well, which until 2008 were some variant of List of basic economics topics.[3] One link of Outline of economics in the sidebar is fine but arguably enough.

2T. The Outline link in the earlier location may discourage use of other links in the sidebar. The early location of the link gives no close approximation to the 3 white-background contents sections that follow in the sidebar, starting with the first, 3/5 of which includes Microeconomics, Economic methodology, and Heterodox economics. These 3 are not even listed in Outline of economics (except in the Econ sidebar). The omissions could be remedied in Outline of economics, but their inclusion would still be submerged in the multiple & sometimes diffuse lists there, obscuring the connection. By contrast, they are near the top of primary codes in the lead of JEL classification codes. Moreover, the latter link lists other primary codes there that also fit the description of the sidebar heading "General categories" and many of which appear under the Fields and subfields. That's a plus in listing other areas that can be similarly described. Content boxes of the sidebar shouldn't be expected to do everything. So, the JEL codes link functions both as a heading for the content section following and a general heading for that section and the 2 sections that follow, like a book-chapter title that also introduces headings within the chapter.

3T. It could be argued that the preceding ignores that fact that the Fields and subfields section of the sidebar has the same link as proposed above for "General categories", and so that the JEL codes links would be redundant. But some redundancy may be acceptable, if as suggested above different headings & associated links serve different functions. The interested reader might well prefer the proposed JEL link in directing to links more inclusive than just those listed immediately below the heading to show how closely they are related to other fields, right from the start and based on a professional source. At the JEL codes link, if the proposal is adopted, the reader would see the same link for Fields and subfield. Would s/he be disappointed? No, just informed. One who instead links to the JEL codes link through "Fields and subfields" would immediately encounter in the text most of the fields in the sidebar (including one earlier listed in sidebar) but ordered in an analytical way that satisfies a professional standard. That standard might be of independent interest. The reader could also dig deeper in scanning the rest of the article. It hard to see what harm the redundancy would be in this case.

Thank you for your consideration. --Thomasmeeks (talk) 21:40, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

4T. There is IMO a related point worth making. Given the 33 currently links listed under Fields & subfields', it may be that many readers would feel daunted at the prospect of linking to the heading above it, especially if s/he had previously linked to Outline of economics currently at the General categories link above it, which has some really large & possibly intimidating lists. So, the earlier placement of the JEL classification codes at General categories might be the most likely way of guiding the reader to that more comprehensive & professionally ordered lead section. Most readers might appreciate that. They'd also see from the bold white backgrounds for both heading boxes go to the same link. So, for future use, the first one would be easier to reach (closer to the top of the sidebar). Thank you. --Thomasmeeks (talk) 03:23, 4 February 2013 (UTC)