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Pioneers of Financial Economics: Das Adam Smith Irrelevanzproblem?

Poitras, Geoffrey and Jovanovic, Franck (2010): Pioneers of Financial Economics: Das Adam Smith Irrelevanzproblem? Published in: History of Economics Review , Vol. 51, No. 1 (2010): pp. 43-64.

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Abstract

This paper is a contribution to the debate surrounding the steady decline in importance of the history of economic thought within the economics curriculum. The relevance of the history of financial economics to this debate is examined and a ‘histories of economic thought’ strategy is suggested to improve the future prospects of the subject. In the process, Das Adam Smith Irrelevanzproblem is identified and discussed. Das Irrelevanzproblem is concerned with the question: why do Adam Smith and other classical political economists continue to play such a central role in traditional thought when the relevance of these thinkers to modern economics, particularly new additions such as financial economics, is so limited? This paper demonstrates that the history of financial economics commences at least a century prior to The Wealth of Nations and is largely independent of the traditional thought which commences with the role of Adam Smith as the leading Enlightenment thinker on issues relevant to political economy.

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