2021 (18), №4

Interdisciplinary Synthesis in Economics



For citation: 

Provolovich, T. O. (2021). Interdisciplinary Synthesis in Economics. Zhurnal Economicheskoj Teorii [Russian Journal of Economic Theory], 18(4), 512-525. https://doi.org/10.31063/2073-6517/2021.18-4.3


The paper aims to identify the factors that influence the methods and outcomes of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary synthesis in economics, in particular with natural science, social studies and humanities. Our analysis focused on neuroeconomics resulting from an interdisciplinary synthesis of economics and neuroscience. We also considered the multidisciplinary economic socio-cognitive-neurobiological synthesis of Peter C. Whybrow and Matthew D. Lieberman. Third, we analyzed the multidisciplinary synthesis of psychology, economics and sociology by Y. I. Alexandrov and S. G. Kirdina-Chandler.
We compared these cases of modern interdisciplinary synthesis and showed that the experimental ideal of the natural sciences which neuroeconomics is oriented at creates methodological constraints for the research of socio-economic processes, aspects of human society and culture. In other words, these processes and phenomena are reduced to biological or physical ones. Thus, neuroeconomics can serve as an example of ‘unequal interdisciplinary relation’.
The multidisciplinary synthesis of Wybrow and Lieberman is more successful. It provides a comprehensive description of both the economic agent and the social reality in which it resides and it explains economic interactions within a broader perspective. However, this synthesis is still at the initial stage, since most of the statements are hypothetical and require additional experimental verification.
We believe that the multidisciplinary synthesis of Alexandrov and Kirdina-Chandler (Alexandrov, Kirdina, 2012) is the most promising for economic research. We distinguish two main factors for the success of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary synthesis in economics: either none of the sciences involved in the synthesis dominates or the synthesis is based on the general picture of the world, including objects and methods from different sciences and relies on a single meta-methodology or paradigm methodology.

Tatiana O. Provolovich — Junior Researcher, Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences; https://orcid.org/0000–0002–9847–4743 (32, Nakhimovsky Prospekt, Moscow, 117218, Russian Federation; e-mail: tatiana.provolovich@gmail.com).