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Building and Using Models as Examples


  • García-Bermejo, Juan Carlos

    () (Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.)


Sometimes, theoreticians explicitly state that they consider their models as examples. When this is not the case, it is fairly common for theoreticians to attribute to their models the characteristics and objectives of illustrative examples. However, this way of understanding models has not received enough attention in the methodological literature focused on economics. Given that didactic examples and their properties are extremely familiar in practice, considering theoretical models as examples can offer a useful perspective on models and their properties. On the basis of both explanatory and exemplifying role played by the deductive arguments by which results are proved, the paper emphasizes also the importance of understanding in theoretical work, the analogical and tentative character of the application of models, the central role played by the above mentioned arguments in such application, the didactic function of theory, and the transmision of plausibility from those arguments to the results obtained.

Suggested Citation

  • García-Bermejo, Juan Carlos, 2007. "Building and Using Models as Examples," Working Papers in Economic Theory 2007/06, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain), Department of Economic Analysis (Economic Theory and Economic History).
  • Handle: RePEc:uam:wpaper:200706

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1989. "Industrialization and the Big Push," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1003-1026, October.
    2. Herbert A. Simon, 1996. "The Sciences of the Artificial, 3rd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691914, January.
    3. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2002. "Information and the Change in the Paradigm in Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 460-501, June.
    4. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
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    More about this item


    models; examples; explanatory arguments; theoretical understanding; analogical application;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology

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