Home > Uncategorized > Dani Rodrik’s smorgasbord view of economic models

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 …


  1. Jørgen Stabenfelt
    December 14, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Kære Lars Syll,
    Hvilken udgave af Dani Rodrik refererer du til?
    Er det denne:
    Economics Rules
    – Why Economics Works, When it Fails, and How to Tell the Difference
    af Dani Rodrik

    Eller er det udgaven fra oktober?

    Bedste hilsner
    Jørgen Stabenfelt

  2. December 15, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Nothing to chose
    Comment on ‘Dani Rodrik’s smorgasbord view of economic models’

    Dani Rodrik repackages and recycles the orthodox approach which is known to be logically and materially inconsistent.*

    This is standard operation procedure and would not be remarkable except for the fact that Heterodoxy recycles since more than 70 years Keynes’s approach which is also known to be logically and materially inconsistent (2011).

    Progress in economics essentially consists of putting from time to time a new face on old crap. New marketing concepts and more fancy graphics for illiterate students, though, should not be confounded with New Economic Thinking.

    Mirowski once put it nicely: “If this was New Thinking, one trembles to contemplate what Old Thinking had looked like.” (2013, p. 160)

    Egmont Kakarot-Handtke

    Kakarot-Handtke, E. (2011). Why Post Keynesianism is Not Yet a Science. SSRN Working Paper Series, 1966438: 1–20. URL http://ssrn.com/abstract=1966438.
    Mirowski, P. (2013). Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste. London, New York, NY: Verso.

    * See ‘How economists became the scientific laughing stock’
    * See ‘Is Keynes acceptable?’

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