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Reforming Economic Theory


GDAE seeks to develop approaches to economic theory that give appropriate weight to ecological, cultural, social, and institutional factors.  We join with others who reject the single goal of growth in GDP, advocating an economic analysis that is based on broader concepts of economic well-being.  We call economics that takes account of humanity's social and physical environments "contextual economics."  Our conceptual framework for theory development is explained in depth in a paper by Dr. Neva Goodwin. Dr. Goodwin also provided comments in this assessment of the current state of economics theory and education.

We pursue our mission of theory development through the publication of books and articles, and through conferences that bring together leading thinkers on alternative approaches to economic theory.  Our publications include book series on Frontier Issues in Economic Thought, Evolving Values for a Capitalist World, and works on Corporations in Context.

In addition, GDAE researchers are active in applying economic theory to social and environmental issues.  Important current issues such as global and national economic inequality, the limits of market-based policies, global climate change, and family and gender issues, will be perceived differently depending on whether one accepts or rejects the dominant, neo-classical economic model.  We seek to present perspectives on these issues based on our broader conception of the basis of economic theory.  Our applied theory work complements work done in GDAE’s Research and Policy Program, which explores these and other issues in depth through empirical research.


Brian Roach on Bedford TV Reforming Economic Theory Multimedia
Audio and video from GDAE researchers working on applied economic theory.

Statements of Economic Principles and Policies

Principles for a New Economy
In collaboration with the New Economy Network (now part of the broader New Economy Coalition), Neva Goodwin, Richard Rosen and Allen White led the process for developing these Principles. The goal of this effort is to develop a set of short, clear, and broadly accepted principles for economic systems that advance well-being for all human and natural communities on the planet.


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Global Development And Environment Institute
Tufts University
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