The World in the Model: How Economists Work and Think by Professor Mary S. Morgan

By Professor Mary S. Morgan

Over the last centuries, the way in which fiscal technological know-how is finished has replaced notably: it has develop into a social technological know-how in response to mathematical types as opposed to phrases. This ebook describes and analyses that modify - either traditionally and philosophically - utilizing a sequence of case reviews to light up the character and the consequences of those adjustments. In structure, it deals a vacationer advisor to economics through focusing chapters on particular versions, explaining how economists create them and the way they cause with them. it isn't a technical publication; it truly is written for the clever one who desires to know how economics works from the interior out. This e-book could be of curiosity to economists and technology experiences students (historians, sociologists and philosophers of science). however it additionally goals at a much wider readership within the public highbrow sphere, development at the present curiosity in all issues financial, and within the contemporary failure of the so-called fiscal version, which has formed our ideals and the area we are living in.

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The parallel literature on mathematical modelling – qua modelling – is less developed, but see Boumans (2005), who focusses on the 1920s–1930s in his discussion of it as a “new practice” in both statistical and mathematical terms. Solow (1997/2005) offers some suggestions about its takeoff in the 1950s and as a rare exception, compares the use of mathematics to the use of modelling to argue that economics is mainly a modelling discipline. Niehans (1990) recognises the “era of models” as a leitmotiv for the period since the 1930s (but does not say much about its history); and Colander (2000) portrays modelling as the “central attribute of modern economics” (p.

Here, as we have already found, history matters whenever we are discussing any specific example of a model, for models are contingent, not timeless: we need history to understand why and how any particular model was built, how it was used, and what understanding economists gained from it. But to understand the development of modelling as an epistemic genre, we need to capture and explicate the generic qualities that we can find in the earlier models of Quesnay, and Ricardo, just as much as the twentieth century work of Frisch and Samuelson.

For example, Samuelson’s model of the macroeconomy must be manipulated in a certain order, not just because the economic relations have a certain time order (found in the equations’ subscripts) but because of the implied causal links given by the economic content. In other cases, the characteristics and ambitions of model economic man are used to motivate how the resources of an economic model are used. For example, the reasoning in the Prisoner’s Dilemma model is determined by the economists’ view of how the economic model man will act in the world of the model.

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