We assess the impact of two groups of economists; mainline economists who regard
economics primarily as the science of exchange and mainstream economists who
perceive economics primarily as the science of choice. To control for scholarly quality we investigate the citation impact of Nobel Prize winning economists, who we break up into the two groups according to their approaches to market failure arguments. We find that over the period from 1970 to 2007 mainline economists had more of an impact than mainstream economists did. The expanding field of economics into many subfields should be considered a positive development for a maturing science. Yet, the close connection between economics and politics, and thus current economic circumstances, does present a temptation to allocate scholarly efforts to fashionable areas that tend to bring fame and prominence to the individual researcher, over scholarly pursuits that bring less personal accolades but advance the core propositions of the discipline.
Peter J. Boettke, George Mason University - Department of Economics
Alexander Fink, Max Planck Institute of Economics
Daniel J. Smith, Troy University - Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy