Heterodox Economics Newsletter

Issue 242 February 04, 2019 web pdf Heterodox Economics Directory

Some months ago the Academy of Management Journal, one of the world's leading journals in management studies, published an engaged editorial on the importance and usefulness of qualitative studies to provide "new ways of seeing". The editorial emphasizes the importance and relative merits of qualitative approaches, invites additional submissions of this kind of research and provides a very neat typology of different types – or "genres" as they call it – of qualitative research. This editorial can be seen as a recommended read for those of our subscribers, who prefer quantitative methods or purely theoretical venues of research, to get a better intuition of the tools developed on the other side of the river. In addition, it also serves as nice antidote to the routinized methodological leanings in economics, where qualitative research is typically discounted ex-ante and, hence, typically remains without any substantial engagement.

Finally, I also found it refreshing to see the notion of 'methodological pluralism' being directly connected to the possibility of attaining novel and insightful perspectives – "new ways of seeing" – on established as well as less established subjects; a traction that reminded me of the first issue of the journal Ecological Economics, published about three decades back, which carried a very similar spirit (e.g. in its opening editorial as well as in one of its first articles). Following this line of thought, we could argue that the diversity of methods partly determines the diversity of perspectives and, therefore, it makes sense to assess the development of such diversity over time. The relative merit of such an approach is nicely illustrated by a recent, slightly provocative paper by Sheba Tejani published in the Journal of Economic Methodology. The paper traces a narrowing methodological diversity in Feminist Economics and asks for the bigger implications of such a development for this important sub-field. It thereby reinforces the major point of the AMJ editors quoted above - namely that it is essential to foster 'new ways of seeing' in addition to exhausting more established approaches and venues of research.

All the best,

Jakob

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