"Its computers stupid!" The spread of computers and the changing roles of theoretical and applied economics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Univ Caen


This paper challenges the widely held notion that the developments in computing are sufficient to explain the recent turn to applied economics. Developments in computer hardware were undoubtedly necessary, and they were sufficient to ensure that there were significant changes in economists’ practices, but to explain how and why economics changed, other factors need to be considered. It conjectures that the most profound effect of the increased availability of computers may have been to challenge the boundary between theory and applied work.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-126
Number of pages24
JournalHistory of Political Economy
Volume49 (Supplement)
Early online date1 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • computers, Information Technology, economics, econometrics, applied economics, software, simulation