Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the origin of economics as a separate science. Design/methodology/approach – A very comprehensive approach is presented for determining the origin of economics as a science. Three kinds of inter-related issues are discussed: how to interpret and evaluate earlier, particularly ancient, writings, the specification of the requirements for declaring economics as a science and the definition, scope and methodology of economics. Findings – Application of the most stringent requirements for declaring economics as a separate science to Kautilya's Arthashastra validated A.K. Sen's claim that it is the first book on economics. Research limitations/implications – According to Kautilya, economics is a separate science but not independent of other disciplines and particularly of ethics. Whereas, most of the current research ignores this inter-dependence and consequently does not fully capture reality. Practical implications – It implies that the inter-dependence between economics and other disciplines should be encouraged and vigorously explored. Originality/value – It validates Redman's assertion, “The history of economics as a science is, in my view, still waiting to be properly written”.
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