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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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Limits of equilibrium methodology

Limits of equilibrium methodology

An educational dialogue

(p.99) Chapter 7 Limits of equilibrium methodology
Equilibrium Models in Economics

Lawrence A. Boland

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses a dialogue between an ‘inquisitive student’ and an ‘economics teacher’ to expose a fundamental problem with how economics is taught at the introductory level. It illustrates the need to address the questions of equilibrium stability (does an equilibrium return if disturbed) and methodological individualism (the requirement that in an explanation of social events, ‘things don’t decide; only people do’). It also illustrates the inadequacy of what is taught in beginning economics classes. Specifically, if one has to assume the presence of an equilibrium to make any policy point, the validity of the point is always open to the criticism that it might not correspond to reality.

Keywords:   methodological individualism, equilibrium stability, price determination, Economics 101, equilibrium methodology

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