Mikroökonomie für alle

TOULOUSE – Im letzten halben Jahrhundert haben die weltweit führenden Universitäten Mikroökonomie durch den Filter des Arrow-Debreu-Modells des allgemeinen Wettbewerbsgleichgewichts gelehrt. Das Modell formalisiert eine zentrale Einsicht aus Wohlstand der Nationen von Adam Smith und verkörpert Schönheit, Einfachheit und mangelnden Realismus der beiden grundlegenden Theoreme des Wettbewerbsgleichgewichts. Dies steht in deutlichem Kontrast zur Unordnung und Komplexität der Änderungen, die Ökonomen vorgenommen haben, um besser wiedergeben zu können, wie die Welt tatsächlich funktioniert. Mit anderen Worten: Während Forscher versuchen, komplexe Situationen des täglichen Lebens in den Griff zu bekommen, lernen Studenten unrealistische Hypothesen.

Dieser Ausbildungsansatz entstammt größtenteils der vernünftigen Idee, ein gedanklicher Rahmen über wirtschaftliche Probleme sei für Studenten nützlicher als ein Sammelsurium von Modellen. Aber er leidet unter einer anderen, schädlicheren Vorstellung: Wenn Abweichungen vom Arrow-Debreu-Modell realistischer und daher komplexer werden, passen sie weniger gut in den Hörsaal. Daraus könnte man folgern, dass „echtes“ mikroökonomisches Denken den Experten überlassen werden sollte.

Sicherlich haben grundlegende Modelle – wie die Theorien des Monopols und einfachen Oligopols, die Theorie öffentlicher Güter oder die einfache Theorie asymmetrischer Informationen – für Studenten einen Wert. Aber nur wenige Forscher arbeiten tatsächlich mit ihnen. Die gängigen Theorien mikroökonomischer Forschung – unvollständige Kontrakte, zweiseitige Märkte, Risikoanalyse, intertemporale Wahlmöglichkeit, Marktsignalisierung, Mikrostruktur der Finanzmärkte, optimale Besteuerung und Mechanism Design – sind viel komplizierter und erfordern außergewöhnliches Können, um Uneleganz zu vermeiden. Angesichts dessen werden sie weitgehend aus den Lehrbüchern ausgeschlossen.

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