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Using and Abusing Economic Theory

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Abstract

Economic Theory is often abused in practical policy-making. There is frequently excessive focus on sophisticated theory at the expense of elementary theory; too much economic knowledge can sometimes be a dangerous thing. Too little attention is paid to the wider economic context, and to the dangers posed by political pressures. Superficially trivial distinctions between policy proposals may be economically significant, while economically irrelevant distinctions may be politically important. I illustrate with some disastrous government auctions, but also show the value of economic theory.

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File URL: http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/economics/papers/2003/W2/usingandabusing.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford in its series Economics Papers with number 2003-W02.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nuf:econwp:0302

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Web page: http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/economics/

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Cited by:
  1. Paul Klemperer, 2001. "How (Not) to Run Auctions: The European 3G Telecom Auctions," Economics Series Working Papers 2002-W05, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Luciano I. de Castro, 2007. "Affiliation, equilibrium existence and the revenue ranking of auctions," Economics Working Papers we074622, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  3. Jacob Goeree & Theo Offerman & Randolph Sloof, 2004. "Demand Reduction and Preemptive Bidding in Multi-Unit License Auctions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-122/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Klemperer, Paul, 2002. "Some Observations on the British and German 3G Telecom Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3605, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Peter Cramton & Andrzej Skrzypacz & Robert Wilson, 2007. "Revenues in the 700 MHz Spectrum Auction," Papers of Peter Cramton 07rev700, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2007.
  6. Derek Clark & Christian Riis, 2008. "Rational benevolence in small committees," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 139-146, March.
  7. Noe, Thomas H. & Rebello, Michael & Wang, Jun, 2012. "Learning to bid: The design of auctions under uncertainty and adaptation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 620-636.
  8. Espinosa, Miguel & Forero, German & Villaneda, Felipe, 2011. "The practice of the auction theory: The Colombian case," MPRA Paper 31150, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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