A Research Agenda in Economic Diagnostics

3 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2011  

Dani Rodrik

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: September 8, 2010

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Rodrik, Dani, A Research Agenda in Economic Diagnostics (September 8, 2010). American Economic Association, Ten Years and Beyond: Economists Answer NSF's Call for Long-Term Research Agendas. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1889365 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1889365

Dani Rodrik (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-9454 (Phone)
617-496-5747 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/rodrik/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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