The Association for Heterodox Economics (AHE)

The Association for Heterodox Economics (AHE) is a learned society which aims to promote open and tolerant debate in economics through a pluralist approach to theory, method, and ideology. The Association, and its membership, seek to promote heterodox economics and perspectives in the academic, governmental and private spheres of the discipline of economics.

The Association is primarily committed to pluralistic analyses of contemporary society and its alternatives. Researchers in the heterodox tradition work on many themes, including: sustainability; globalisation and geographical inequality; exploitation by social class, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexuality; the ethical basis for competing economic systems; the theory and history of economic crisis; the analysis of pricing, competitive processes and monopoly power; fundamental uncertainty; and finance, value and debt. The AHE also promotes the study of economic history and the history of economic thought, insofar as they have shaped the present economic system and our thinking about it. In exploring these themes members of the AHE accept and embrace the legitimacy of competing theoretical perspectives and recognise that a plurality of methods is required to provide a robust analysis of, and policy prescriptions for, the socio-economic system.

There are many traditions which make up contemporary economics – including neoclassical, Austrian, feminist, green, institutionalist, Marxian, post-Keynesian, radical and Sraffian economics. However, among these competing perspectives, one “mainstream” approach – neoclassical economics – has come to occupy a position of hegemonic domination. It is this domination which the AHE seeks to challenge, through dialogue between alternative perspectives. Heterodox economists in the non-neoclassical traditions are welcome to join the Association, as are neoclassical economists if their work reflects upon the plurality of perspectives which make up the contemporary economics discipline.

In more than ten years the AHE has established a reputation as a major national and international forum for the discussion of alternative economic perspectives and for the interdisciplinary and pluralist nature of its discussions. It also plays an on-going role in strengthening the community of heterodox economists and in the development of heterodox economic theories on various themes through the dissemination of ideas and arguments. For example, since the onset of the recent global financial crisis, heterodox economists have held neoclassical economics to account for its failure to predict and explain what has happened. The AHE has also been particularly vociferous in challenging the power structures of the profession in theUK, such as the Research Excellence Framework, the Royal Economic Society and the Association of Business Schools (ABS) ranking of economics journals. Finally, nationally and internationally, it has lobbied on issues such as pluralism in teaching, research and research evaluation, openness to innovation and creativity, and the policy stances of economists and decision-makers.

The annual AHE Conferences have been a particular feature of our Society. They have taken place at various British universities, as well as atDublinCityUniversity(Ireland) and theUniversityofBordeaux(France). In addition the Association runs a Postgraduate Training Workshop – delivered by internationally renowned heterodox economists – which introduces graduate students to the pluralist methods which can be utilised to further our understanding of contemporary socio-economies.