Economics imperialism

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Economics imperialism[1] is the economic analysis of non-economic aspects of life,[2] such as crime,[3] law,[4] the family,[5] prejudice,[6] tastes,[7] irrational behavior,[8] politics,[9] sociology,[10] culture,[11] religion,[12] war,[13] science,[14] and research.[14] Related usage of the term goes back as far as the 1930s.[15]

The emergence of such analysis has been attributed to a method that, like that of the physical sciences, permits refutable implications[16] testable by standard statistical techniques.[17] Central to that approach are "[t]he combined postulates of maximizing behavior, stable preferences and market equilibrium, applied relentlessly and unflinchingly".[18] It has been asserted that these and a focus on economic efficiency have been ignored in other social sciences and "allowed economics to invade intellectual territory that was previously deemed to be outside the discipline's realm".[17][19]

Justin Fox suggests that other social sciences have also made forays into economics, such as psychology with Daniel Kahnemann and Amos Tversky's work on prospect theory, economic anthropology and more recent economic sociology.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kenneth E. Boulding, 1969. "Economics as a Moral Science," American Economic Review, 59(1), p. 8, pp 1–12.
       • Ben Fine, 2000. " Economics Imperialism and Intellectual Progress: The Present as History of Economic Thought?" History of Economics Review, 32, pp. 10-36 Archived 2012-04-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Gary Becker, 1976. The Economic Approach to Human Behavior. Description and preview.
       • "Economic Imperialism," Archived 2008-05-21 at the Wayback Machine, 1993. [Interview of Gary Becker.] Religion & Liberty, 3(22).
       • George J. Stigler, 1984. "Economics—The Imperial Science?" Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 86(3), pp. 301-313.
       • Mariano Tommasi and Kathryn Ierulli, ed., 1995. The New Economics of Human Behavior, Cambridge. Description and preview.
       • Uskali Mäki, 2009. "Economics Imperialism: Concept and Constraint," Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 39(3), pp. 351-380.
  3. ^ • Gary Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, 76(2), pp. 169-217.
       • Steven D. Levitt and Thomas J. Miles, 2008. "deterrence (empirical), economic analyses of," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
       • Yves Zenou, 2008. "crime and the city," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
  4. ^ David D. Friedman, 2000. Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters . Princeton. Description. Scroll to chapter-preview links.
       • A. Mitchell Polinsky and Steven Shavell, 2008. "law, economic analysis of," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract and pre-publication copy.
       • Richard A. Posner, 2010. Economic Analysis of Law, 8th edition, Aspen. Description and contents.
       • Ronald H. Coase, 1978. "Economics and Contiguous Disciplines," Journal of Legal Studies, 7(2), pp. 201-211 Archived 2013-09-09 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ • Gary Becker, 1981, 1991, Enlarged ed.. A Treatise on the Family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-90698-5. Publisher's description & links to chapter previews.
       • Gary Becker, 1987. "family," The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 2, pp. 281-86. Reprinted in 1989, Social Economics: The New Palgrave, pp. 65-76.
       • John Ermisch, 2008. "family economics," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract+ links to "Related Articles" Abstracts.
  6. ^ • Gary Becker, The Economics of Discrimination, 1957, 1971, 2nd ed., University of Chicago Press ISBN 0-226-04115-8. Description. Scroll down to chapter-preview links.
  7. ^ • Gary Becker, 1996, Accounting for Tastes, Harvard UP. ISBN 0-674-54356-4. Description & preview.
  8. ^ • Gary Becker, 1962. "Irrational Behavior and Economic Theory," Journal of Political Economy, 70(1), pp. 1-13.
  9. ^ Gordon Tullock, 1972. "Economic Imperialism," in Theory of Public Choice, pp. 317-29. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  10. ^ Richard Swedberg, 1990. Economics and Sociology: Redefining Their Boundaries: Conversations with Economists and Sociologists. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-00376-9, ISBN 978-0-691-00376-4 Description and chapter-preview links, pp. v- vi.
       • Gary Becker and Kevin M. Murphy, 2001. Social Economics: Market Behavior in a Social Environment]Harvard University Press. Description and TOC.
  11. ^ • Raquel Fernández, 2008. "culture and economics." The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract and pre-publication copy.
       • Partha Dasgupta, 2008. "social capital." The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract
       • Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, 107(6), Part 2, p p. S95-S126.
  12. ^ Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1998. "Introduction to the Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, 36(3), pp. 1465–1495. Archived 2007-10-26 at the Wayback Machine
       • Laurence R. Iannaccone and Eli Berman, 2008. "religion, economics of," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition, v. 7, pp. 82-90. Abstract and Table of Contents.
  13. ^ • David D. Friedman, 1984. "The Economics of War"., Blood and Iron: There Will Be War, v. 3, pp. 161-72.
  14. ^ a b • Arthur M. Diamond, Jr., 2008. "science, economics of," in S.N. Durlauf and L.E. Blume, ed., The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd edition, Abstract and pre-publication copy.
  15. ^ Roger E. Backhouse and Steven G. Medema, 2009. "Defining Economics: The Long Road to Acceptance of the Robbins Definition," Economica, 76(302), Economics Spreads its Wings, n. 29, pp. [805–820:
    This was not a new phrase, having been used by Souter already in the 1930s: "The salvation of Economic Science in the twentieth century lies in an enlightened and democratic 'economic imperialism', which invades the territories of its neighbors, not to enslave them or to swallow them up, but to aid and enrich them and promote their autonomous growth in the very process of aiding and enriching itself" [per Ralph William Souter, 1933. Prolegomena to Relativity Economics, p. 94, n. Columbia University Press.
  16. ^ As argued more generally in Paul A. Samuelson, 1947, Enlarged ed. 1983. Foundations of Economic Analysis, Harvard University Press.
  17. ^ a b Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Economic Imperialism," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 115(1), p. 99, pp. 99-146.
  18. ^ • Gary Becker, 1976. The Economic Approach to Human Behavior, p. 5.
  19. ^ Jack Hirshleifer, 1985. "The Expanding Domain of Economics," American Economic Review, 75(6), pp. 53-68. Reprinted in Jack Hirshleifer, 2001), The Dark Side of the Force: Economic Foundations of Conflict Theory, ch.14, pp. 306- 42.
       • Gary Becker, 1992. "The Economic Way of Looking at Life." Nobel Lecture link, also in 1993, Journal of Political Economy, 101(3), pp. 383-409.
       • Shoshana Grossbard-Shechtman and Christopher K. Clague, ed., 2007. The Expansion of Economics: Toward a More Inclusive Social Science, M.E. Sharpe. Description and preview.
  20. ^ "The End of Economists' Imperialism". Harvard Business Review. 2013-01-04. ISSN 0017-8012. Retrieved 2021-03-22.