Economists necessarily lack evidence about alternative institutional arrangements that are distant from our current reality. The challenge is to remain true to empiricism without crowding out the imagination needed to envisage the inclusive and freedom-enhancing institutions of the future.
CAMBRIDGE – Responding to pressures from within and without, the economics profession is gradually changing for the better. Not surprisingly, the populist backlash sweeping advanced democracies in recent years has produced some soul searching in the discipline. After all, the austerity, free-trade deals, financial liberalization, and labor market deregulation that caused it rested on the ideas of economists.