Prose And Cons Of `Economics Novelists'
In "The next economics novelist: Model maker or storyteller?" (Economic Trends, Oct. 11), your dichotomy is vacuous at best. Consider such great Nobel laureate "storytellers" as James Buchanan and [this year's winner] Douglass North or such outstanding Nobel laureate "model builders" as Gerard DeBreu and Lawrence Klein. All have systematically investigated principles of economic activity, developed testable hypotheses of their models of behavior, and derived predictive implications. What differs between these groups is not their scientific credentials but their language of discourse--prose vs. mathematics. Any first-rate economic scientist would agree that the optimal language style and degree of formality will differ according to the phenomenon being explored.
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