A Research Agenda in Economic Diagnostics
3 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2011
Date Written: September 8, 2010
Very little research is devoted in economics to "economic diagnostics": figuring out which among multiple plausible models actually applies in a particular setting. The profession places a large premium on developing new models that shed light on as yet unexplained phenomena; but no-one gets brownie points for research that informs how appropriate models and remedies can be selected in specific contexts. With better diagnostic tools, perhaps economists would have been more skeptical of applying perfect-information, zero-agency-costs models to the U.S. prior to the financial crisis. Different economies suffer from different constraints, and the appropriate models and remedies depend on the nature of the more binding constraints. Diagnostic research can help us figure out how to apply economics in different settings in an intelligent way.
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