Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2010

Capstone Advisor

Jerry Evensky

Honors Reader

Chris Rohlfs

Capstone Major


Capstone College


Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Economics | Economic Theory | Growth and Development | Other Economics


This paper seeks to (1) offer a conceptual overview of the methodology of science research programs (MSRP) of Imre Lakatos; (2) apply the framework of that methodology to the neoclassical theory of Gary S. Becker; and (3) explore a quantitative-driven, atheoretical alternative, which challenges the view that there can be or should be any body of theoretical economics. The MSRP framework is used in an instrumental manner in the pursuit of a lucid and interesting historical analysis. The pros and cons of Becker’s approach are presented in the tradition of instrumentalism, and in light of recent discussion of economics imperialism. It is argued that some theory is indispensable, and that the MSRP framework is adequate as a critical and historical tool, which elucidates how ecnomic theory can be both precise and positive, and rich and flexible.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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