This ambitious book looks 'behind the model' to reveal how ecomists use formal models to generate insights into the ecomy. Drawing on recent work in the philosophy of science and ecomic methodology, the book presents a vel framework for understanding the logic of ecomic modeling. It also reveals the ways in which ecomic models can mislead rather than illuminate. Importantly, the book goes beyond purely negative critique, proposing a concrete program of methodological reform to better equip ecomists to detect potential mismatches between their models and the targets of their inquiry. Ranging across ecomics, philosophy, and social science methods, and drawing on a variety of examples, including the recent financial crisis, Behind the Model will be of interest to anyone who has wondered how ecomics works - and why it sometimes fails so spectacularly.
Peter Spiegler is Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.