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Equilibrium Models in EconomicsPurposes and Critical Limitations$
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Lawrence A. Boland

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190274320

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190274320.001.0001

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Building models of learning and the equilibrium process

Building models of learning and the equilibrium process

(p.205) Chapter 15 Building models of learning and the equilibrium process
Equilibrium Models in Economics

Lawrence A. Boland

Oxford University Press

This chapter reconsiders the two contrary views of knowledge and hence of learning that was discussed in Chapter 6. One is the quantity-based view, which plays a role whenever model builders appeal to some form of inductive learning, and a quality-based view, which is the view promoted by Plato’s early Socrates but rarely recognized by equilibrium model builders. Whichever view is adopted, learning needs to be addressed when recognizing any role for knowledge in equilibrium economic models. In this regard, the chapter addresses the main limitation of almost all equilibrium models—namely, the failure to incorporate a realistic theory of the decision makers’ knowledge and learning in the model. The chapter ends by showing how methodological individualism can be generalized. And if it is, it can thereby serve as a basis for a more realistic explanation of an equilibrium’s stability.

Keywords:   Socratic learning, decision maker’s knowledge, methodological individualism, macrofoundations, conjectural knowledge

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