THeoretical Economics - Theoretical research in Economics
While neoclassical economic theory constitutes both the dominant or orthodox theoretical as well as methodological framework, economic theory can also take the form of other schools of thought such as in heterodox economic theories. In microeconomics, principal concepts include:
The mainstream economic theory relies upon a priori quantitative economic models, which employ a variety of concepts. Theory typically proceeds with an assumption of ceteris paribus, which means holding constant explanatory variables other than the one under consideration.
When creating theories, the objective is to find ones which are at least as simple in information requirements, more precise in predictions, and more fruitful in generating additional research than prior theories.
While neoclassical economic theory constitutes both the dominant or orthodox theoretical as well as methodological framework, economic theory can also take the form of other schools of thought such as heterodox economic theories.
In microeconomics, principal concepts include:
- supply and demand,
- rational choice theory,
- opportunity cost,
- budget constraints,
- utility, and
- the theory of the firm.
Early macroeconomic models focused on modelling the relationships between aggregate variables, but as the relationships appeared to change over time macroeconomists, including new Keynesians, reformulated their models in micro-foundations.
The aforementioned microeconomic concepts play a major part in macroeconomic models – for instance, in monetary theory, the quantity theory of money predicts that increases in the growth rate of the money supply increase inflation, and inflation is assumed to be influenced by rational expectations.
In development economics, slower growth in developed nations has been sometimes predicted because of the declining marginal returns of investment and capital, and this has been observed in the Four Asian Tigers.
Sometimes an economic hypothesis is only qualitative, not quantitative. Expositions of economic reasoning often use two-dimensional graphs to illustrate theoretical relationships. At a higher level of generality, mathematical economics is the application of mathematical methods to represent theories and analyze problems in economics.
Paul Samuelson's treatise Foundations of Economic Analysis (1947) exemplifies the method, particularly as to maximizing behavioural relations of agents reaching equilibrium. The book focused on examining the class of statements called operationally meaningful theorems in economics, which are theorems that can conceivably be refuted by empirical data
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