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Models, stories and the economic world

  • Mary Morgan
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    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.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

    Volume (Year): 8 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 361-384

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:8:y:2001:i:3:p:361-384
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    1. Morgan,Mary S. & Morrison,Margaret (ed.), 1999. "Models as Mediators," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521655712.
    2. Thomas M. Humphrey, 1996. "The early history of the box diagram," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 37-75.
    3. McCloskey, Deirdre N., 1990. "If You're So Smart," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226556703, May.
    4. Morgan,Mary S. & Morrison,Margaret (ed.), 1999. "Models as Mediators," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521650977.
    5. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
    6. Warren Young & William Darity, Jr., 2004. "IS-LM-BP: An Inquest," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 36(5), pages 127-164, Supplemen.
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