nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2006‒02‒26
two papers chosen by
Andy Denis
City University

  1. The Contributions of Professor Amartya Sen in the Field of Human Rights By Polly Vizard
  2. Don't Put the Cart Before the Horse: Teaching the Economic Approach to Empirical Research By Bradley A. Hansen; Mary Eschelbach Hansen

  1. By: Polly Vizard
    Abstract: This paper analyses the work of the Nobel Prize winning economist Professor Amartya Sen from the perspective of human rights. It assesses the ways in which Sen's research agenda has deepened and expanded human rights discourse in the disciplines of ethics and economics, and examines how his work has promoted cross-fertilisation and integration on this subject across traditional disciplinary divides. The paper suggests that Sen's development of a 'scholarly bridge' between human rights and economics is an important and innovative contribution that has methodological as well as substantive importance and that provides a prototype and stimuli for future research. It also establishes that the idea of fundamental freedoms and human rights is itself an important gateway into understanding the nature, scope and significance of Sen's research. The paper concludes with a brief assessment of the challenges to be addressed in taking Sen's contributions in the field of human rights forward.
    Keywords: Amartya Sen, human rights, poverty, freedom, obligation, capability approach, meta-rights, entitlements, ‘opportunity freedom’, ‘liberty-rights’
    JEL: A12 A13 B31 D63 I39 K39
    Date: 2005–01
  2. By: Bradley A. Hansen; Mary Eschelbach Hansen (Department of Economics, American University)
    Abstract: When students are taught how to do original research in courses outside economics, they are taught to begin with the collection of data. This is not the approach followed by economists, who typically begin an answer to a research question by developing a model. The model then guides the search for evidence. We argue that the economic approach is more likely to lead to the development of a persuasive argument, and that greater awareness of the contrast between the economic approach and its alternatives can enable economists to improve the teaching of the research process.
    Keywords: teaching economics, research methods
    JEL: A20 A12
    Date: 2005–12

This nep-hpe issue is ©2006 by Andy Denis. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.