The eclipse of the uncertainty concept in mainstream economics

G. Hodgson

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    21 Citations (Scopus)
    123 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper examines the decline in use of the Knight-Keynes uncertainty concept in mainstream economics. Using electronic archives, it shows that the frequency of its appearance in leading journals of economics has fallen rapidly from the 1950s. As well as to the declining popularity of Keynesian ideas since about 1970, the decrease in this use of the uncertainty concept is additionally related to the increasing mathematical formalization of economics and to the prevalence of a positivist emphasis on prediction. Some possible causes of this formalization are examined. Finally the essay discusses the prospects for a broadening of economics within universities, beyond a relatively narrow preoccupation with predictive formalism and including a reinvigorated Keynesianism.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)159-175
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Economic Issues
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • formalization of economics
    • prediction
    • probability
    • uncertainty


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