Monday, October 13, 2008

Krugman on Krugman

...about "How I Work". Here are some excerpts:

"...when I left graduate school I was, in my own mind at least, somewhat directionless. I was not sure what to work on; I was not even sure whether I really liked research. "

"We just don't see what we can't formalize...So there, right at hand, was my mission: to look at things from a slightly different angle, and in so doing to reveal the obvious, things that had been right under our noses all the time."

"I am a strong believer in the importance of models, which are to our minds what spear-throwers were to stone age arms: they greatly extend the power and range of our insight...economic models are metaphors, not truth...But always remember that you may have gotten the metaphor wrong, and that someone else with a different metaphor may be seeing something that you are missing."

"What I began to realize was that in economics we are always making silly assumptions; it's just that some of them have been made so often that they come to seem natural. And so one should not reject a model as silly until one sees where its assumptions lead...[And] the reason for making these assumptions is not that they are reasonable but that they seem to help us produce models that are helpful metaphors for things that we think happen in the real world...If a new set of assumptions seems to yield a valuable set of insights, then never mind if they seem strange. "

"...there is a strategy that both helps you keep control of your own insights, and makes those insights accessible to others. The strategy is: always try to express your ideas in the simplest possible model."

BUT, REMEMBER HIS LAST WORDS, "what works for one economist may not work for another." So, make your own judgement and make it right.

No comments: