Microeconomia para Todos

TOULOUSE – Durante o último meio século, as melhores universidades do mundo ensinaram microeconomia através da lente do modelo de equilíbrio concorrencial geral de Arrow-Debreu. O modelo, que formaliza um princípio central d’ A Riqueza das Nações de Adam Smith, corporiza a beleza, a simplicidade, e a falta de realismo dos dois teoremas fundamentais do equilíbrio concorrencial, em contraste com a confusão e complexidade das modificações realizadas pelos economistas num esforço de melhor capturar a maneira como, na realidade, o mundo funciona. Por outras palavras, enquanto os investigadores tentam compreender situações complexas e reais, os estudantes contemplam cenários hipotéticos e irrealistas.

Esta abordagem educativa deriva largamente da ideia sensata de ser mais útil, para os estudantes, uma estrutura para pensar sobre os problemas económicos, do que uma manta de retalhos de modelos. Mas esta ideia tem ficado sobrecarregada por outra e mais perniciosa noção: à medida que as derivações do modelo de Arrow-Debreu se tornam mais realistas, e portanto mais complexas, tornam-se menos adequadas à sala de aula. Por outras palavras, o “verdadeiro” pensamento microeconómico deve ser deixado aos peritos.

Com certeza, os modelos básicos – por exemplo, as teorias do monopólio e do oligopólio simples, a teoria dos bens públicos, ou a simples teoria da informação assimétrica – têm algum valor educativo. Mas poucos investigadores os usam no seu trabalho. As teorias essenciais à pesquisa microeconómica – contratos incompletos, mercados bilaterais, análise de risco, escolha intertemporal, sinalização de mercados, microestrutura de mercados financeiros, fiscalidade óptima, e desenho de mecanismos – são muito mais complicadas, e exigem uma delicadeza excepcional para evitar a deselegância. Por isso, são na sua maior parte excluídas dos manuais.

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