Grand Ideas or Delusions of Grandeur? Placing big thinkers and essential theories in property economics research

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Purpose: This article is looking to reflect on the various important touchstones of “grand theory” and “big thinkers” that can be framed when engaging empirical evidence in property economics research. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is reflexive in nature, using experiential reflection to consider theory in property economics. The importance of “methodology” is emphasised rather than “method”. Findings: Using reflexive mode, the paper does not have “findings” as such: if the views expressed are accepted, then a research agenda to better understand property economics research is implied. Research limitations/implications: The nature of reflection is that it follows from the writer's experiential processes and interpretations. The reader may come from a different stance. Broadly accepting the propositions, there is a call for property economics research to be formulated in reason and logic, particularly as humans do not reason from facts alone. Such reasoned thinking could for example be in the property economic concepts of space and place, contracts and justice, capital and financialisation. Practical implications: To engage with such theory would provide some depth of philosophical roots for property as a discipline. Elevating property as a “real-world” discipline rather than simply an applied mathematics discipline. Social implications: The paper enables an understanding of how property economics research can benefit from more ontology and more inductive reasoning. Originality/value: The paper reflects the views and experience of the author based on over 15 years of research in property economics.
Journal of Property Investment and Finance, 2022, 40 (3), pp. 291 - 299