economics, definition of

Roger E. Backhouse and Steven Medema
From The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Second Edition, 2008
Edited by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume
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Economics is difficult to define unambiguously, many definitions having been proposed as the subject has evolved. Definitions are ex post constructions, even rationalizations, but they can nonetheless influence what economist do and how they set about doing it. This article considers the main definitions from the late 18th century to the present, pointing out some of the ways in which changing views reflect and have influenced changes in the subject.
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How to cite this article

Backhouse, Roger E. and Steven Medema. "economics, definition of." The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Second Edition. Eds. Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online. Palgrave Macmillan. 17 January 2018 <> doi:10.1057/9780230226203.0442

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