Dani Rodrik’s smorgasbord view of economic models
from Lars Syll
Traveling by train to Stockholm during the weekend, yours truly had plenty of time to catch up on some reading.
Dani Rodrik’s Economics Rules (Oxford University Press, 2015) is one of those rare examples where a mainstream economist — instead of just looking the other way — takes his time to ponder on the tough and deep science-theoretic and methodological questions that underpin the economics discipline.
There’s much in the book I like and appreciate, but there is also a very disturbing apologetic tendency to blame all of the shortcomings on the economists and depicting economics itself as a problem-free smorgasbord collection of models. If you just choose the appropriate model from the immense and varied smorgasbord there’s no problem. It is as if all problems in economics were conjured away if only we could make the proper model selection. To Rodrik the problem is always the economists, never economics itself. I sure wish it was that simple, but having written more than ten books on the history and methodology of economics, and having spent almost forty years among them econs, I have to confess I don’t quite recognize the picture …