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The Macroeconomist as Scientist and Engineer

  • N. Gregory Mankiw

This essay offers a brief history of macroeconomics, together with an evaluation of what has been learned over the past several decades. It is based on the premise that the field has evolved through the efforts of two types of macroeconomist%u2014 those who understand the field as a type of engineering and those who would like it to be more of a science. While the early macroeconomists were engineers trying to solve practical problems, macroeconomists have more recently focused on developing analytic tools and establishing theoretical principles. These tools and principles, however, have been slow to find their way into applications. As the field of macroeconomics has evolved, one recurrent theme is the interaction%u2014sometimes productive and sometimes not%u2014 between the scientists and the engineers.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12349.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
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Publication status: published as N. Gregory Mankiw, 2006. "The Macroeconomist as Scientist and Engineer," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 29-46, Fall.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12349
Note: EFG ME
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