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Document Type

Article in Response to Controversy

Abstract

The term 'economic imperialism': is generally attributed to an article of that title by Hoover Institution economist Edward Lazear (2000, p. 1), although it is a concept that has long been promoted by University of Chicago economist Gary Becker. The article itself is a celebratory piece that asserts both modern economics bona fides as the premiere social science analogous to the so-called hard sciences, such as physics and chemistry, as well as the generalized applicability of neoclassical economic theory and econometric methods to all manner of social phenomena. Lazear is surely being provocative in proclaiming the preeminence of economic orthodoxy, not to mention displaying a good deal of intellectual hubris, but it is equally clear that he does have a point. While the assertion that economics is the premiere social science is certainly questionable, it is difficult to understate the growing influence of neoclassical economic theory and methodology across the social sciences (Fine & Milonakis, 2009).

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