Roughly speaking all economists can be divided into two groups--those who agree with Milton Friedman and those who do not. Both groups, however, espouse the view that science is a series of approximations to a demonstrated accord with reality. Methodological controversy in economics is now merely a Conventionalist argument over which comes first--simplicity or generality. Furthermore, this controversy in its current form is not compatible with one important new and up and coming economic (welfare) theory called "the theory of the (...) Second Best." In this paper I offer a Second Best meta-theory that says that (1) any compromise between simplicity and generality must yield a theory which is "third best" by these Conventionalist criteria; and (2) there exists a better way than a compromise. (shrink)
Concern about the role and the limits of modeling has heightened after repeated questions were raised regarding the dependability and suitability of the models that were used in the run-up to the 2008 financial crash. In this book, Lawrence Boland provides an overview of the practices of and the problems faced by model builders to explain the nature of models, the modeling process, and the possibility for and nature of their testing. In a reflective manner, the author raises serious questions (...) about the assumptions and judgments that model builders make in constructing models. In making his case, he examines the traditional microeconomics-macroeconomics separation with regard to how theoretical models are built and used and how they interact, paying particular attention to the use of equilibrium concepts in macroeconomic models and game theory and to the challenges involved in building empirical models, testing models, and using models to test theoretical explanations. (shrink)
This book is about forming effective critiques of neoclassical economics. Its focus is on constructive criticism of the foundations neoclassical theory, beginning with what Alfred Marshall called the `Principles of Economics'. It concludes that there is still much that can be done to make neoclassical economics more realistic.
Until quite recently, some economic methodologists (particularly, those who began their careers in the late 1970s) were of the opinion that Karl Popper was misguided about economics. Some others claimed that Popper said little about economics. Yet, many economics students who began their appreciation of Popper after reading his Open Society and Its Enemies have quickly realized how easy that book is to understand because it is a generalization of neoclassical economics in terms of both methodological individualism and situational analysis. (...) While today it might be easy to complain that basing one's understanding of Popper on neoclassical economics leads to a narrow and useless appreciation of Popper, this too is misleading. The problem is not neoclassical economics but neoclassical economists. After all, Popper himself thought the best way to teach economists about his views concerning methodology was to emphasize that his views can easily be understood as a generalization of neoclassical economics. (shrink)
continues to receive many reviews. Judging by recent reviews, this is a very controversial book. The question considered here is, how can one fairly review a controversial bookparticularly when the book is widely popular and, for a history of economic thought book, a best seller? This essay uses Mirowskis book as a case study to propose one answer for this question. In the process, it will examine how others seem to have answered this question. Key Words: methodology reviews (...) Mirowski Machine Dreams. (shrink)