[Book Review] Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science

Over this past Christmas break and while doing some traveling over the past several months, I’ve been able to squeeze in some unassigned reading. One of the books I’ve read was Dani Rodrik’s newest book Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science. I enjoyed this book greatly and have written a review of it to be published in the forthcoming issue of Faith & Economics – a peer-reviewed journal of the Association of Christian Economists.  

Here is the accepted (but still working) draft:

Book Review Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science by Dani Rodrik

The key “take-home” points of this book are:

  • Never confuse a model with the model. There exist a lot of theories about human behavior. Most of them are true at some time and in some location. Choose carefully!
  • “When models are selected judiciously, they are a source of illumination. When used dogmatically, they lead to hubris and errors in policy” (p. 11).
  • “At best, we can talk in terms of tendencies, context-specific regularities, and likely consequences” (p.45).
  • Mistakes are when we become overconfident in one popular paradigm or when we disregard important characteristics of the specific context in which a model is being applied.

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