research philosophy

A few of the profs/lecturers and us (PhD students) were chatting over morning tea farewell. So, there was this part of the conversation that I thought I should jot down, something I should always remind myself of. It isn’t rocket science.

We were chatting about how some papers published in AER or other journals are so simple but yet not trivial. It’s indeed true. One prof mentioned that it takes some natural talent, and the ability to identify the trade offs with the simplest assumptions.

So true indeed. Some of the most significant economics concepts/models are based on very simple assumptions, yet doesn’t appear trivial. I agree with the need for careful mathematical modelling, but certainly not a whole paper filled with proofs on things that no one understands. And, certainly, there shouldn’t be casual empiricism. Anything done empirically should be backed up with some form of theory in the simplest form, even if it is almost certainly a pure empirical issue.