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Byline: Edward Lotterman
Apr. 28--When Amartya Sen won the 1998 Nobel Prize in economics, I congratulated an Indian-born co-worker on his compatriot's achievement. He snorted dismissively and made it clear he did not consider Sen's recent scholarly work to be economics.
Many other academic economists would share this view. When Sen worked in an abstract area of microeconomics called "social-choice theory," they might argue, he was doing economics. But now, when he writes histories of famines or discusses the connections between development and freedom, they argue, he has crossed the frontier into some other discipline. This is philosophy, perhaps, or sociology or history, but certainly not economics.
Amartya Sen spoke Tuesday to a standing-room-only crowd at Hamline University when …