Economics beyond the Millennium (The Sset Series) by Alan P. Kirman, Louis-Andre Gerard-Varet

By Alan P. Kirman, Louis-Andre Gerard-Varet

Economics: past the Millennium includes articles through major professionals in a number of fields of financial idea and econometrics, each one of whom offers an account of the present state-of-the-art of their personal box and point out the path that they believe it is going to take up the subsequent ten years.

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As a discipline becomes better formalized, hence more rigorous in its deductive or inductive arguments, new problems are brought to light. Side hypotheses have to be introduced in order to validate a property often asserted before; going deeper into the analysis, can one prove that these hypotheses must hold, or may be dispensed with. A problem that was formerly loosely defined appears really to split into two or several problems; can they all be solved? And so on. Moreover, going one step upstream seldom is the end: the new problem usually reveals still another problem, or several others.

I agree that postulates will have to be borrowed, more than now, from psychology or sociology. But I do not see why this would imply a softer methodology than the one now used. Behind Hahn's intuition probably lies the realization that economic theory will have to work on less well integrated systems: we shall no longer indefinitely extend the consequences of rational behaviour. ) But the change in the type of system to be studied does not imply that hard mathematics will become less useful. Neither the study of market disequilibria nor that of incomplete markets seems to announce such a change of method.

I may also refer to the incentive problem in an economy with public goods. Can we expect the new game-theoretic research to permit us to understand this problem better and to evaluate its consequences for various public decision procedures? 4. ) contains a number of complaints about the present methodology of our discipline, particularly about its over-reliance on mathematics. The criticism ought to concern first and foremost the subject matter of this paper, since for no other branch of economic theory have axiomatization and rigorous mathematical reasoning been as prevalent and as advanced.

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