Comment intégret l’économie comparative dans l’économie?
The paper provides comparative analysis of leading research programmes in the field of comparative economics, as well as assessment of their actual and potential role in an economist’s tool kit. Analysis covers research programmes, which are either explicitly or implicitly comparative. The first group includes both traditional Comparative Economic Systems approach (especially in versions of T.Koopmans - J.Montias and E.Neuberger - W.Duffy), and recent Comparative Institutional Analysis of A.Greif and M.Aoki. The second group is presented by German Ordo-liberalism initiated by W.Eucken and by more recent French Theorie de la regulation research programme. Comparative economics is analysed from the perspective of Eucken’s Great Antinomy with underlying controversies over the nature of economic knowledge. The challenge comes back to the Methodenstreit of the late XIX century, while adequate response to it is still on the agenda. Most of modern economic theory is highly dependent on ceteris paribus clause. It is argued that to relax this dependence, economics should take comparative research strategy quite seriously. Methodological analysis of the field of comparative economics indicates some neglected, but crucial epistemological grounds of economic inquiry (especially heuristic role of ideal-typical constructs) and points out at comparative economics as an indispensable tool for bridging gaps between theoretical and empirical inquiry, as well as between the science and the art of economics.