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Laboratorio: Economics as Science


Lab: Economics as Science


Anno accademico 2023/2024

Codice attività didattica
Mario Aldo Cedrini (Titolare del corso)
Corso di studio
Laurea in Economia e Statistica per le Organizzazioni - a Torino [0402L31]
1° anno, 2° anno, 3° anno
Primo semestre
Altre attività
SSD attività didattica
NN/00 - nessun settore scientifico
Tipologia esame
Propedeutico a

Sommario insegnamento


Obiettivi formativi

"Economics is a collection of models that admits a wide diversity of possibilities, rather than a set of prepackaged conclusions ... standard accounts "tend to miss the diversity that exists within the profession, and the many new ideas that are being tried out," and they often overlook the reality that "one can be part of the mainstream and yet not necessarily hold 'orthodox' ideas" (Rodrik 2015). Advanced by a leading and highly influential economist, this qualified defense of economics against accusations of dogmatism might imply that the landscape of the discipline is becoming increasingly fragmented, thereby raising the chances that a pluralist-in-essence economics might join social sciences in the construction of a transdisciplinary perspective on human behavior. 

The laboratory introduces students to "economic methodology", namely to the nature of assumptions, types of reasoning, and forms of explanation used by economists in their research work. The aim is to make students experience the variety of approaches populating the discipline and induce them to reflect upon the desirability of introducing further diversity within the discipline. 


Risultati dell'apprendimento attesi

Upon completion, students:

- will be able to recognize the most important debates on the nature and methodology of economics as science, having acquired knowledge of the appropriate terminology and of the theoretical foundations of such debates (knowledge and understanding);

- will be able to apply philosophy-of-science concepts to orient in the debate upon the evolution and current trajectories of economics as discipline, also in relation to other social sciences (applying knowledge and understanding);

- will demonstrate awareness of the competition between alternative schools of thought, and to be able to critically discuss the various research programs in today’s economics, by retracing them back to key differences in theoretical foundations (applying knowledge and understanding);

- will be able to grasp critically the main tacit assumptions concerning the structure of economics as discipline implied in the arguments sustaining or condemning pluralism in economics (making judgements); 

- will be able to make autonomous judgements upon the evolution of economics and the importance of the plurality of approaches that currently characterizes it (making judgements);

- will demonstrate to have acquired and to be able to employ the competencies required – the ability to understand theoretical and applied aspects of suggested readings, autonomous judgement, written and oral communication skills, and result-oriented teamwork - to conduct further autonomous research (in different contexts, that is in both professional contexts and in specialising educational contexts) for various purposes (learning skills).



- Economics and its critics: insularity versus openness to other social sciences

- Monism and pluralism: on the amount of diversity within the discipline

- Schools of thought: the kind of conversation required to build pluralism 

- Change in economics: how can economics become a pluralistic science 


Modalità di insegnamento

The laboratory combines lectures (4 hours overall), tutorials/reading groups (4 hours), and lab activities (4 hours) by students themselves on schools of thought in today's economics. Experts in economic methodology and scholars specialized in some of the various research programs of today's fragmented economics will also be involved in the lectures.    

After introducing the general philosophy-of-science approach to economics as a discipline, the teacher will assist students in reading and understanding Rodrik's "Economics rules" and then provide them materials (made available on the Moodle platform page for this course; students are required to register at the link reported at the bottom of the page) to experience the variety of possible perspectives within economics. Students will thus make a class presentation illustrating each approach's specificities (assumptions, types of reasoning, and forms of explanation).  


Modalità di verifica dell'apprendimento

Students will employ the competencies acquired during the seminar for the analysis of a specific school of thought, approach, or perspective, starting from a specific work (a published article or chapter in a book, to be selected under teachers' supervision) in economics or economic methodology.

They will work in small teams. They will prepare a powerpoint presentation and discuss its contents with students of the laboratory, making the case for the legitimacy and relevance, in a pluralistic disciplinary environment, of the specific school of thought selected for the analysis. 

Assessment focuses on students' ability to understand topics and approaches dealt with in the laboratory, their ability to master the terminology, to use appropriate techniques of reasoning, to identify theoretical conceptual connections and correctly analyze issues related to economics as a science.

Testi consigliati e bibliografia

Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of The Dismal Science
Anno pubblicazione:  
W.W. Norton
Dani Rodrik



Orari e aule

23, 24 & 30 Novembre

1, 6 & 7 Dicembre

14-16, aula E3, Campus Luigi Einaudi

Le slide di presentazione del laboratorio sono disponibili alla pagina

Gli/le studenti/esse con DSA o disabilità, sono pregati/e di prendere visione delle modalità di supporto ( e di accoglienza ( di Ateneo, e in particolare delle procedure necessarie per il supporto in sede d’esame (


23, 24 & 30 November

1, 6 & 7 December

2-4pm, room E3, Campus Luigi Einaudi

Slides introducing students to the laboratory's activities are available at

Students affected by Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) or disability are invited to read carefully the supporting tools ( and facilities made available by the University of Turin (SLD:; disability:, and, in particular, the procedures to follow in order to receive support for the exams (SLD:; disability: 

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