About Piet Keizer

My name is Piet Keizer, and I’m an Associate Professor of Economic Methodology.

I studied economics at the Groningen University from 1965-1972; a period, which was interrupted by offering military service to the Dutch Queen of about one and a half years. Besides studying economics I was a teacher at a secondary school (HAVO, VWO) during the last year of my study.

In 1973 I became an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Groningen University. I wrote a PhD-thesis, titled: Inflation, an Institutional Phenomenon, and defended it in 1982. From 1983-2004 I was an Associate Professor of Institutional Economics at the Maastricht University. Since I was the first member of staff of the just erected Economics Faculty, I was the chairperson of allmost all relevant commissions. In this period I became an expert in the application of the educational system ‘Problem Based Learning’, and gave many workshops in this field all over the world.

Motivation to study economics

In my period on the secondary school my first lessons economics were taught in the course on history. The stories about the hyperinflation in Germany in 1923, and about the Great Crash and the Great Depression made me emotional, and I decided to study economics with the idea that I could do something about it.

The Economics programme in Groningen was quite orthodox – analysis of the economic aspect system, more than an analysis of the economy as an important societal sector. From the beginning I started shopping at other Faculties: psychology, sociology, political science, philosophy.

Ideological changes during the 1980s

Under the influence of prestigious American universities the organization as well as the content of the programmes changed. The organizations became more hierarchical, and more centralized. The budgets declined, and universities had to search for money, to get their research financed. American systems of quality assessment were introduced, which have led to lower quality of the output. In terms of content less relevant theoretical work, and more undisciplined empirical research made the universities like industrial factories. At one point they differ sharply from private business. In case of knowledge production there are barely people to be found, who can confirm the quality of the product. Peer reviews are given by people of the same sub-sub-specialisation, thereby having the same interests. The situation became increasingly killing for the intrinsically motivated innovators.

In 2004 I left Maastricht, and adopted a part-time teaching job at the Utrecht University, so as to have ample time to work on my own research programme. Without the strait-jackets of the neoclassically and econometrically orientated programmes, I could work on my idea of a theoretical foundation of a multi-disicplinary economics.

At the moment there are barely serious methodological debates between the various research programmes. Many very specialized groups are producing results, which will never reach other groups, and have no customer at all. Status battles have led to a near-monopoly for the neoclassical ideas. There is some room for evolutionary and institutional economists, and behavioural economics is growing; and that’s it.

Economists are in need of a scientific revolution. I’m working on it for many years now. This website is one of the tools to spread my ideas about what I call multidisciplinary economics.

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