DEFINITION of 'Mainstream Economics'

A term used to describe schools of economic thought considered orthodox. It is not a branch of economics as of itself, but is used to describe theories often considered part of the neoclassical economics tradition. Mainstream economics follows rational choice theory, which assumes that individuals make decisions that will maximize their own utility, and uses statistics and mathematical models to demonstrate theories and evaluate various economic developments.

BREAKING DOWN 'Mainstream Economics'

Schools of economic thought outside of mainstream economics - called heterodox economics - are more skeptical of the role of the government and the rationality of actors. Mainstream economics does not focus on economic concerns gaining momentum, such as sustainability and pollution.

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