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- According to George Box, the statistician, “All models are wrong”. If this is the case why do economists continue to rely on formal models?
- Economic methodology is traditionally based on the natural sciences. How far are such methods appropriate to the study of a social science?
- How important is the realism of economic assumptions?
- (From Krugman, Wells and Graddy) Show in a graph the effect on the demand curve, the supply curve, the equilibrium price, and the equilibrium quantity for each of the following events.
- The market for the local newspaper. Event 1: the salaries of journalists go up. Event 2: there is a big news story in your city which is reported in the newspapers.
- The market for cotton shirts. Event 1: the summer is unusually hot. Event 2: the price of cotton increases.
- The market for crisps. Event 1: people realize how fattening they are. Event 2: people have less time to make themselves a cooked meal.
- The market for your favorite economics textbook. Event 1: your university makes the textbook required reading. Event 2: printing costs for textbooks decrease because paper becomes cheaper.
Problem Set question
- Exogenous movements in demand are needed in order to be able to recover the supply curve. Explain.
- What does it mean to say that quantity supplied must be equal to the quantity demanded? To what extent is this tautological? Is the supply and demand model falsifiable?
- How could you tell whether or not a market is a) competitive, b) in competitive equilibrium?
- The standard supply and demand model completely abstracts from the existence and nature of institutions which govern how people actually trade. Discuss, using examples, the extent to which is this a good and a bad thing.
- Is market equilibrium a real, observable, and feature of the world? A mere tendency? Or a more or less useful conceptual construct?
- Is free trade ever bad?
- “Voluntary trades only occur on the short side of the market”. Explain.
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