Beyond Representative-Agent Macroeconomics

The current dominant strain of macroeconomic thought adopts an analytical simplification of the representative agent that deliberately abstracts from some of the most interesting and important questions we confront today.

A central reason for this abstraction is analytical convenience. In general, we don’t know how to handle genuinely dynamic models with multiple agents trading at disequilibrium prices.

Corrado DiGuilmi and Laura Carvalho, grantees of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, have individually been exploring two possible alternative analytical entry points: mean field methods from physics and stock flow consistent modeling from accounting. The idea behind their grant is to work together to combine these two approaches, the first bottom-up and the second top-down.

Early on in their studies, both DiGuilmi and Carvalho separately decided to try something different, and committed themselves to spending the time needed to develop expertise in non-standard methods. This is a great example of where new economic thinking will come from.

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