Prompt #1: Read the introductory chapter in Political Economy (see syllabus for

Prompt #1: Read the introductory chapter in Political Economy (see syllabus for book references) and the article on Neoclassical assumptions. In the Political Economy chapter, Saros begins by defining economics as a discussion. Then he goes on to tell students that Neoclassical economics is the main school of thought presented in most textbooks. One point that is important to understand is the entry point of Neoclassical economics. You need to make certain assumptions about the world and the people in it. What do you think of the assumptions economists make? Do you think Neoclassical economics limits understanding or misrepresents the economy, or does it enhance understanding via the simplicity? (It would be interesting to come back to this question at the end of the class….we may do that to see how your views have changed)
Prompt #2: Now let’s focus on Rodrik. The reading is in the module. Let’s start by having you summarize what you think the two or three main points of the reading are. Write your thoughts, and we’ll go from there. This is an important point being made by Rodrik about models and the use of models.
Prompt #3 : I want to focus on how models are used to understand the world. In the Rodrik readings, what examples does he give to illustrate how models can have a tremendous impact on policies. Can you think of a model you have used to understand something? To what degree were the simplifications relevant?
Prompt #4: For this last prompt, let’s talk about the assumption of ceteris paribus. What this assumption does is it asks the reader to temporarily hold constant all the other variables that could influence the model and allow for just one thing to change. Then we see how the model is affected, holding all the other variables constant and allowing just the thing to change. Why is this an important concept? What would happen if we tried to analyze behavior without this assumption. Can you give some examples?