Educational policymaking and the methodology of positive economics: A theoretical critique

Tal Gilead*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


By critically interrogating the methodological foundations of orthodox economic theory, Tal Gilead challenges the growing conviction in educational policymaking quarters that, being more scientific than other forms of educational investigation, inquiries grounded in orthodox economics should provide the basis for educational policymaking. He argues that the main methodological problem with accepting orthodox economic theory as a guide to educational policymaking is not, as commonly claimed, its alleged reliance on a materialistic and egoistic conception of human nature, but rather its embracement of a value-free conception of science and the hypothetico-deductive model of prediction. These, Gilead maintains, prevent economics-based investigations from adequately dealing with questions of human agency and ethics, which are central to education. Orthodox economic thinking, he concludes, should not be accorded a dominant role in educational policymaking, but rather should only be viewed as providing one additional source of insight that has limited applicability.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)349-368
Number of pages20
JournalEducational Theory
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014


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