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Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science Hardcover – October 13, 2015
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“The best economists make the best methodologists, and Dani Rodrik is both. His Economics Rules is the single best source for explaining the strengths and weaknesses of economics to an outside audience.” (Tyler Cowen, George Mason University, author of The Great Stagnation)
“In Economics Rules, enjoyment enhances learning, with lessons for economists and non-economists alike―indeed, ten commandments for each. The book is a page-turner with every page carrying an important and memorable take-away.” (Margaret Levi, director, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University)
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Top Customer Reviews
While not dwelling on the suffering caused by the hasty privatization of assets, the radicalization of the Washington consensus, and the deregulation of derivatives, Rodrik argues that these policy prescriptions did not necessarily follow from economic science. He argues that economists had available to them models that should have deflated optimism about these radical policy prescriptions. These models should have made more economists alert to imperfect information and competition, coordination failures, second best perversities, principal-agent misalignments, etc.
These elegant models specify causal mechanisms and can be empirically tested. Rodrik is more than successful in defending the epistemological value of the economists' practice of model building and empirical testing, though one of course can differ about the critical assumptions that should be built into them. Rodrik himself raises tough questions about the limits of empirical testing.
If economists are to be faulted, says Rodrik, it should be for allowing discussion to be dominated by those economists that do not admit that economics has produced several and even competing models and that the best economists struggle to determine which ones fit best in specific situations; the economists who came to dominate discussion also often laced their policy prescriptions with extra-economic value judgments as if these followed from the scientific choosing and testing of models.
Rodrik argues that there are no general, all-encompassing theories in economics that provide universally-valid causal accounts and answer tough moral questions.Read more ›
I appreciate Rodrik's undogmatic and eclectic approach to doing economics. Also, I believe that is the right attitude to knowledge-seeking.
It was kind of a let down. Rodrik is a bit of a rebel when it comes to economics discourse (once wrote a book doubting fully the benefits of globalization *fainting couch). But even then the options that he looks at seem narrowly circumscribed - mostly macro from new keynesian to new classical! To his credit, Marx raises his head, if only to be dismissed.
What I really like is the framing of the book as looking at models, and how they are useful and how they are not as necessary simplifications of the real world - he even cites one of my favorite Jorge Borges stories to tell about the necessity of simplification. He also looks at the fox / hedgehog divide, in that true knowledge is knowing what model to use when looking at the explanation of a past event, and not over reliance on a strong theory that will too often lead you astray.
The big problem for me was that the model using is almost all backwards looking. If you know what happened and you can pick the right model you’re golden, but he discounts being able to know the future. Maybe I missed something, but isn’t a large part of trying to understand the past so that you can more accurately predict the future? If there is no ultimately one correct model and they do grow horizontally (a multiplicity) instead of replacing dead models as he calls it vertically, are we doomed to be having the same arguments generation after generation only with more powerful computers and fancier math?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good nice interesting well written etc I liked itPublished 7 days ago by Nick Warino
Professor Rodrik attempts a mild-mannered critique – to get his fellow economists to be more self-critical in how they use economic models. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Dick_Burkhart
Brilliant. Must read for economists and non-economists, lovers and haters of economics, orthodox and heterodox economists, students and professors. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Álvaro
This is an appallingly good book. Good because it is well written, easy to read, clear, and engaging. Appalling because it is epistemologically thin and shallow. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tom Palley
First rate presentation of economics, warts and all. I strongly recommend that every graduate student read this to make their studies more nuanced. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Charles K. Wilber
Clear, concise and surprisingly frank overview of the nature and power of current economics and economists. Many, many funny lines and big scoops of self-directed skepticism. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Leroy Tolstoy
I always expected to see a good approach to modeling Economy. I think the same applies to modellig in general. I think this book really met my expectations. Read morePublished 3 months ago by LUIZ SA LUCAS
A thoughtful, well-written defense of the dismal science which should be required reading for student pursuing advanced degrees in all behavioral science disciplines.Published 3 months ago by Robert M. Madigan