What makes a useful theory?
If conventional economic theory is so wrong (as we are repeatedly told ) why does it survive so well? This post by UnlearningEcon prompted me to think again about why economics, despite widely accepted empirical data from behavioural econ, is broadly taught in the same way as before, and why its basic assumptions still underpin much modern research. Some have a sociological explanation for this. In this view, economists are invested in the old approaches, have spent decades honing specific mathematical skills, and effectively collude to make sure new ideas do not displace the old. The top journals only accept papers that cite the same old work, perpetuating the models. Science, as they say, advances one funeral at a time. No doubt there's something to this, but I don't think economists are quite so closed minded. There is a clue in the above article: "...Euclidean geometry, despite being incorrect, is more effective than non-Euclidean geometry in some engineerin