There are two fundamentally different approaches to innovation: incremental and radical. In Economics as Anatomy, G.M. Peter Swann argues that economics as a discipline needs both perspectives in order to create the maximum beneficial effect for the economy.
Chapters explore how and why mainstream economics is very good at incremental innovation but seems uncomfortable with radical innovation. Swann argues that economics should follow the example of many other disciplines, transitioning from one field to a range of semi-autonomous sub-disciplines. In this book, he compares the missing link in empirical economics to being the economic equivalent of anatomy, the basis of medical discourse.
Working as a sequel to Swann's Putting Econometrics in its Place, this book will be a vital resource to those who are discontent with the state of mainstream economics, especially those actively seeking to promote change in the discipline. Students wishing to see progress in the teaching of economics will also benefit from this timely book.
'In Economics as Anatomy Peter Swann has produced a wonderful sequel to his earlier 2006 classic, Putting Econometrics into Its Place. In this powerful new book, Peter Swann shows how key ideas from the economics of innovation can reconstruct economics as an empirical science. The challenge for mainstream economists is to embrace diversity and help rebuild the subject of economics so that it is no less innovative and dynamic than the economy itself. Economists need to go back to their roots and build something different.'
– Kevin Dowd, Durham University, UK
'This is an important, thought-provoking, well-argued and provocative work which questions the methodological basis of, and the status accorded to, econometric analyses. . . This book will prove useful to all economic researchers, whatever the stage of their career – from undergraduates to longstanding professors. This book should stimulate a lively debate and should result in all researching economists to reflect critically on their current approaches and become more open to methods other than the strictly econometric.'
– Adrian Darnell, Durham University, UK
'Economics as Anatomy is a superb sequel to Peter Swann's earlier book, Putting Econometrics in its Place. It is filled with educated common sense. It critiques the profession without condemnation, and provides some excellent and well-reasoned suggestions for how the profession can (and should) do better.'
– David Colander, Middlebury College, US
'Peter Swann's call for economics to embrace a federation of approaches to economics, akin to the diversity one finds in medicine, is a thoughtful insider's response to the calls for pluralism in economics by internal and external critics after the financial crisis of 2008. His demonstration that the signal to noise ratio in the vast majority of econometric studies is far too low to rely on econometrics alone as a way to evaluate economic theories should be read and appreciated by all econometricians. Humility may be the first necessary step in the reform of economics.'
– Steve Keen, Kingston University London, UK
'Swann applies ideas from the economics of innovation and standards plus entertaining analogies from medicine and Sherlock Holmes to make a persuasive case for improving empirical economics. He shows how this can be done by adopting a wider variety of methods and embracing free trade and a division of labour with other disciplines.'
– Ron Smith, Birkbeck, University of London, UK
G.M. Peter Swann, Emeritus Professor of Industrial Economics, Nottingham University Business School, UK.