Methodology in Capital in the twenty-first century

A "new-historical" approach to political economy


  • Luke Anthony Petach Colorado State University, United States



Thomas Piketty, capital, economic methodology, history of thought, political economy


This paper explores the methodological foundations of Thomas Piketty's recent book Capital in the twenty-first century. The current literature on Piketty's work lacks consensus as to which paradigm of economic thought Capital fits into (if any). In response to that literature, this paper argues that Piketty offers a new methodological direction for economic science in the form of an analytical 'new-historicism'. The central emphasis of this methodology is an analysis of general dynamic laws on three levels: distribution, institutions, and history. A new-historical methodological framework applies new analytical tools to old economic problems raised by Smith, Ricardo, Marx, and others. This distinguishes Piketty's framework from other contending paradigms or schools of economic thought, thereby alleviating confusion in the current literature surrounding Piketty's book.

Author Biography

Luke Anthony Petach, Colorado State University, United States

Luke Anthony Petach is a graduate student in economics at Colorado State University. His research interests include political economy, economic development, the history of economic thought, and problems concerning the intersection of philosophy and economics.




How to Cite

Petach, L. A. (2015). Methodology in Capital in the twenty-first century: A "new-historical" approach to political economy. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 8(2), 21–33.