Dilemmas of an economic theorist

Ariel Rubinstein

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    What on earth are economic theorists like me trying to accomplish? This paper discusses four dilemmas encountered by an economic theorist: The dilemma of absurd conclusions: Should we abandon a model if it produces absurd conclusions or should we regard a model as a very limited set of assumptions that will inevitably fail in some contexts? The dilemma of responding to evidence: Should our models be judged according to experimental results? The dilemma of modelless regularities: Should models provide the hypothesis for testing or are they simply exercises in logic that have no use in identifying regularities? The dilemma of relevance: Do we have the right to offer advice or to make statements that are intended to influence the real world?

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)865-883
    Number of pages19
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Jul 2006


    • Economic education
    • Economic theory
    • Fable
    • Game theory
    • Hyperbolic discounting
    • Jungle
    • Time response

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics


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