Inderscience Publishers

The green economist as reflexive social scientist

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I analyse the article 'The macroeconomist as scientist and engineer' by N. Gregory Mankiw (2006), in which he describes the current state of economics and the tension between its hard science and engineering aspects. The article is interesting in that it is written by a major insider in macroeconomics – a professor at Harvard University, former head of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers and author of several leading textbooks in economics. It gives a good insight into the state of the economics profession by one of its own key insiders. The reason that it is so important is that, while Mankiw portrays economists as either hard scientists or engineers, he writes the article as a critical assessment of the current state of economics in the real world in the form of reflexive social science. My purpose in analysing the article is to provide a coherent framework for methodological approaches to green economics that are consistent with the foundations of the field by its main proponents.

Keywords: green economics, reflexive social science, economic methodology, macroeconomics

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