Download PDF by Edward E. Leamer: The craft of economics : lessons from the Heckscher-Ohlin

By Edward E. Leamer

ISBN-10: 0262016877

ISBN-13: 9780262016872

ISBN-10: 026230158X

ISBN-13: 9780262301589

In this lively and provocative publication, Edward Leamer turns an exam of the Heckscher--Ohlin framework for worldwide pageant into a chance to give some thought to the craft of economics: what economists do, what they need to do, and what they is not going to do. Claiming ''a lifetime dating with Heckscher--Ohlin,'' Leamer argues that Bertil Ohlin's unique proposal provided whatever important although imprecise and never unavoidably legitimate; the economists who later translated his principles into mathematical theorems provided anything specified and legitimate yet no longer unavoidably priceless. He argues additional that the easiest economists maintain formal and casual considering in stability. An Ohlinesque typically prose sort can allow in defective pondering and fuzzy verbal exchange; a often math type permits lost emphasis and opaque verbal exchange. Leamer writes that state-of-the-art version- and math-driven economics wishes extra prose and no more math. Leamer exhibits that the Heckscher--Ohlin framework is nonetheless priceless, and that there's nonetheless a lot paintings to be performed with it. yet he concerns a caveat approximately economists: ''What we do isn't really technological know-how, it is fiction and journalism.'' fiscal idea, he writes, is fiction (stories, loosely hooked up to the facts); information research is journalism (facts, loosely hooked up to the stories). instead of titling the 2 sections of his booklet concept and facts, he calls them fiscal Fiction and Econometric Journalism, explaining, ''If you locate that startling, that is strong. i'm attempting to retain you awake.''

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Such a result is, however, almost unthinkable and certainly highly improbable. No mathematician would ever say that a theorem is almost unthinkable and certainly highly improbable. The mere statement of the theorem makes it thinkable and whatever the theorem says, it is true, false, or not yet decided. But could an economist convey his disinterest in the factor price equalization idea by saying with literary flourish that complete factor price equalization is almost unthinkable and certainly highly improbable?

The primary goal should not be to amuse each other with mathematical complexities. It should not be to study how trade in products has evolved and how changing trade patterns are correlated with changing global inequality. The primary goal should be to design policy interventions— policies that are intended to help achieve social objectives, notably the highest level of well-being for the largest number of people. What I think should be a secondary goal is understanding for the sake of understanding.

Krugman 1995, p. 5) I am startled by this simile that makes the facts collected painstakingly by a surveyor before the map is drawn “morally equivalent” to a theoretical model scribbled on a chalkboard in an economist’s office, a model that may make the smallest possible reference to the facts. ” Where is the role in Krugman’s world for the economist who “surveys the landscape” and organizes the facts? And I am reminded of a quotation that I carry in my briefcase: Fondly we think we honor merit then, When we but praise ourselves in other men.

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The craft of economics : lessons from the Heckscher-Ohlin framework by Edward E. Leamer


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