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Ever since the late 19th century, when economics, increasingly embracing mathematics and statistics, developed scientific pretensions, its practitioners have been accused of a variety of sins.Economics is not the kind of science in which there could ever be one true model that works best in all contexts.So, unlike the natural sciences, economics advances scientifically not by replacing old models with ones that are better, but by expanding its library of models, with each one shedding light on a different social contingency.Similarly, behavioral models that emphasize heuristic decision-making make us better analysts of environments where such considerations may be important.Models that emphasize expectations are sometimes best for analyzing levels of inflation and unemployment; at other times, models with Keynesian elements will do a superior job.The best way to respond to the complexity of social life is not to devise ever-more elaborate models, but to learn how different causal mechanisms work, one at a time, and then figure out which ones are most relevant in a particular setting.Navigating among economic models – choosing which one will work better – is a considerably more difficult task than choosing the right map.
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