Standing in the Way of Rigor? Economics’ Meeting with the Decolonizing Agenda.

Ingrid Kvangraven, Surbhi Kesar

Research output: Working paper/PreprintWorking paper


This paper critically engages with various aspects of the decolonization movement in economics and its implications for the discipline. We operationalize the insights from this engagement using a survey of 498 economists that explores how faculty across different kinds of departments, disciplines, geographies, and identities perceive the problems of economics teaching, how they think economics pedagogy should be reformed, if at all, and how they relate to decolonial critiques of economics pedagogy. Based on the survey findings, we conclude that the mainstream of the field’s emphasis on technical training and rigor, within a narrow theoretical and methodological framework, likely stands in the way of the very possibility for decolonizing economics, given its strong contrast to key ideas associated with the decolonization agenda, such as positionality, centering power relations, exposing underlying politics of defining theoretical categories, and unpacking the politics of knowledge production. Nonetheless, the survey responses clearly chart out the challenges that the field faces in terms of decolonizing pedagogy, which is a first step towards debate and change.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherDepartment of Economics, The New School for Social Research
Number of pages54
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


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