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Models, stories and the economic world

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  • Mary Morgan

Abstract

Stories form an integral part of models. An economic model can not be fully characterized simply by knowing its structure: the model can only be completely described when we know how it works and what it can do. This activity of manipulating a model requires a narrative device, such as a question, which sets off a story told with the model. The structure or system portrayed in the model constrains and shapes the stories that can be told, but without stories showing how the structure works, we cannot tell what might happen in specific cases. Without these narrative elements, we cannot apply model-structures directly onto the facts of the economic world, nor demonstrate outcomes about the hypothetical world represented in the model. Thus, stories are not simply devices of persuasion, but constitute an important part of the identity of a model.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary Morgan, 2001. "Models, stories and the economic world," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 361-384.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:8:y:2001:i:3:p:361-384
    DOI: 10.1080/13501780110078972
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Guala & Andrea Salanti, 2002. "On the Robustness of Economic Models," Working Papers (-2012) 0208, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
    2. Gérard Charreaux, 2008. "La recherche en finance d’entreprise:quel positionnement méthodologique ?," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie, revues.org, vol. 11(Special), pages 237-290, June.
    3. Lind, Hans, 2007. "The story and the model done: An evaluation of mathematical models of rent control," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 183-198, March.
    4. Wichardt, Philipp C., 2014. "Models and Fictions in (Micro-)Economics," Working Papers 2014:31, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 12 Sep 2014.
    5. Daniel B. Klein & Pedro Romero, 2007. "Model Building versus Theorizing: The Paucity of Theory in the _Journal of Economic Theory_," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 4(2), pages 241-271, May.
    6. Doganova, Liliana & Eyquem-Renault, Marie, 2009. "What do business models do?: Innovation devices in technology entrepreneurship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1559-1570, December.

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