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The interdisciplinarity of economics


Economics has the reputation to be an insular discipline with little consideration for other social sciences and humanities (SSH). New research [Angrist et al, 2020, JEL] challenges this perception of economics: the perception would be historically inaccurate and especially at odds with the recent interdisciplinarity of economics. By systematically studying citation patterns since the 1950 in thousands of journals, we offer the best established conclusions to date on this issue. Our results do show that the discipline is uniquely insular from a historical point of view. But we also document an important turn after the 1990s that drastically transformed the discipline has it became more open, very quickly, to the influence of management, environmental sciences, and to a lesser degree, a variety of SSH. While this turn made economics less uniquely insular, as of today economics remains the least outward-looking discipline with management among all SSH. Furthermore, unlike in the other major social sciences, the most influential journals in economics have not significantly contributed to the recent increase in the interdisciplinarity of the discipline. While economics is changing, it is too soon to claim that it has completed an interdisciplinary turn.


Truc, A., Santerre, O., Gingras, Y. et Claveau, F. (2020). The interdisciplinarity of economics. SSRN Electronic Journal. Available at SSRN:

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Alexandre Truc
Olivier Santerre
Bureau des initiatives numériques