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How Complicated Does the Model Have to Be?


  • Krugman, Paul


Simple macroeconomic models based on IS-LM have become unfashionable because of their lack of micro-foundations, and are in danger of being effectively forgotten by the profession. Yet while thinking about micro-foundations is a productive enterprise, complex models based on such foundations are not necessarily more accurate than simple, ad-hoc models. Three decades of attempts to base aggregate supply on rational behaviour have not displaced the Phillips curve; inter-temporal models of consumption do not offer reliable predictions about aggregate demand. Meanwhile, the ease of use of small models makes them superior for many practical applications. So we should not allow them to be driven out of circulation. Copyright 2000 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Krugman, Paul, 2000. "How Complicated Does the Model Have to Be?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 33-42, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:16:y:2000:i:4:p:33-42

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1995. "Exchange Rate Dynamics Redux," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 624-660, June.
    2. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-987, December.
    3. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1985. "Small Menu Costs and Large Business Cycles: A Macroeconomic Model of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 529-538.
    4. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen, 1985. "A Near-Rational Model of the Business Cycle, with Wage and Price Inertia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(Supplemen), pages 823-838.
    5. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, January.
    6. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Stanley Fischer, 1989. "Lectures on Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262022834, January.
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