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William Kern
Ph.D., Colorado State University

Professor | Department of Economics
History of Economics (esp. classical and neo-classical economics)

Department of Economics
Friedmann Hall 3059

website | interview | william [dot] kern [at] wmich [dot] edu

HPS Research Interests
My primary research interest is the history of economic thought and methodology. I have done some work on the development of economists' methodology. For example, in a recent paper I examined how the classical economist's conception of economic man differs from that of neoclassical economics. In that paper I demonstrated that the classical economists were much more willing than their modern day counterparts to assume that individuals are influenced by concern related to status. In contrast neoclassical economists rely much more heavily on the assumption of methodological individualism which ignores concerns about status.

HPS Teaching Interests
In my history of economic thought course the first section of the course is devoted to considering various models from the philosophy of science such as the work of Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, and Imre Lakatos and discussion of their relevance to the history of economics. I ask the students to consider whether the development of economics is Popperian or Kuhnian in nature. As we discuss various schools of thought the methodology they employed is compared and contrasted with that of other schools. The emergence of economics from a largely normative to a more "scientific" enterprise is also a theme I develop throughout the course.

HPS Representative Publications

  WMU History & Philosophy of Science | Copyright 2006