The two methods and the hard core of economics

Vol. 29 No. 2 (2009)

Apr-Jun / 2009
Published April 1, 2009
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))

How to Cite

Bresser-Pereira, Luiz Carlos. 2009. “The Two Methods and the Hard Core of Economics”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 29 (2):163-90.

The two methods and the hard core of economics

Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira
Professor Emérito da Fundação Getulio Vargas
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 29 No. 2 (2009), Apr-Jun / 2009, Pages 163-190


While methodological sciences have no object and are supposed to adopt a hypothetical-deductive method, substantive sciences including economics should use an empirical or historical-deductive method. The great classical economists and Keynes did that and were able to develop open models explaining how equally open economic systems work. Thus, the hard core of relevant economics is formed by the classical microeconomics and the classical theory of capitalist economic growth, and by Keynesian macroeconomics. In contrast, neoclassical economist aiming to build a mathematical science wrongly adopted the hypothetical-deductive method, and came to macroeconomic and growth models that do not have practical use in policymaking. The exception is Marshall’s microeconomics that does not provide a model of real economic systems, but is useful to the analysis of markets.

JEL Classification: B10; B20; B41.

Keywords: hypothetical-deductive method historical-deductive method open systems mathematical economics new historical facts