Showing posts from June, 2012

The Cognitive Microfoundations Project: a behavioural economics world tour

There has been much talk about microfoundations on the economics blogs in the last few months [ Noahpinion , Mark Thoma , Simon Wren-Lewis   twice , Andrew Gelman   twice , Karl Smith , Paul Krugman   twice , Robert Waldmann , Rajiv Sethi from 2009 ]. The idea of microfoundations is that a model of the overall economy should be consistent with how individual people act. The aggregate behaviour of variables like GDP, government deficits and unemployment should be derived by adding up the choices of individuals, not by treating the whole population as if it were a single entity. (A microfounded model might start off like this: "Imagine N agents, each of which has income y n , consumes c n and saves s n . Then y n = c n + s n . For each agent, s n varies with the interest rate r according to the following relation..." while a non-microfounded model is more likely to start: "Total spending in the economy is C and saving is S. C+S must sum to Y, total income. S varies w