building blocks Myxi/Flickr

El lugar que corresponde a los modelos económicos

BERKELEY – Cuando los responsables del diseño de políticas buscan la asesoría de economistas, su intención es tener un consejo basado en la ciencia, no en facciones académicas o presuposiciones políticas. Después de todo, las políticas que pondrán en aplicación tendrán implicaciones en las vidas de las personas. Por desgracia, la ciencia no es siempre el motor que sustenta el análisis económico y las recomendaciones de política.

En una crítica reciente de lo que llama “mathiness” (modelos matemáticos asertivos) de la economía moderna, Paul M. Romer de la Universidad de Nueva York, argumenta que los economistas deberían tomar medidas para excluir la influencia de facciones académicas y la política de la ciencia sombría. Romer sustenta su argumento en un debate que tiene lugar actualmente en su campo sobre el papel de las ideas en la promoción del crecimiento económico.

Romer parece estar inquieto sobre todo por la tendencia de algunos economistas a argumentar que lo que es cierto para determinados tipos de teorías es cierto para todas las teorías y por ende aplicable al mundo real. A fin de dar un ejemplo, Romer cita el trabajo del economista de la Universidad de Chicago, Robert Lucas, que en su artículo de investigación de 2009, “Ideas y crecimiento”, desestima el papel que los libros o prototipos pueden tener como impulsores del crecimiento. “Se puede incorporar conocimiento en libros, prototipos, máquinas y otros tipos de capital físico, y sabemos cómo incorporar capital en un modelo de crecimiento”, señaló Lucas, “pero también sabemos que dicho procedimiento no es en sí un motor de crecimiento sostenido”.

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