At Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux has an excellent post on models and their usefulness in economics. Don’s gist is as follows:
Anyone can devise a model to show almost anything. And economics is filled with widely referenced models that are useless (or worse than useless). The Keynesian Cross comes to mind. So, too, the textbook model of so-called “perfect competition” (which, in addition to being a model in which almost everything resembling real-world competition is either squeezed out or appears as a monopolizing (!) tactic, isn’t even logically coherent – for in the model no room exists for any agent actually to change prices).
The value of an economic model is found in its ability to make the world more understandable. Devising a model is no evidence that the named concepts in the model have anything in reality to correspond to them, or that the model is a useful analytical…
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