AUTHORS: Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro
In Cents and Sensibility, an eminent literary critic and a leading economist make the case that the humanities — especially the study of literature — offer economists ways to make their models more realistic, their predictions more accurate, and their policies more effective and just.
Arguing that Adam Smith’s heirs include Austen, Chekhov, and Tolstoy as much as Keynes and Friedman, Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro trace the connection between Adam Smith’s great classic, The Wealth of Nations, and his less celebrated book on ethics, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
The authors contend that a few decades later, Jane Austen invented her groundbreaking method of novelistic narration in order to give life to the empathy that Smith believed essential to humanity.
More than anyone, the great writers can offer economists something they need—a richer appreciation of behavior, ethics, culture, and narrative.