The relative autonomy of macroeconomics, a methodological approach

Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira e Gilberto Tadeu Lima

Texto para Discussão EAESP/FGV 49, janeiro 1996

The neoclassical attempt to find a microfoundation to macroeconomics is fruitless. While microeconomics is essentially logic-deductive, and may be deduced from the homo economicus, macroeconomics is essentially a historical discipline, requiring an historical or inductive approach. Starting from the observation of actual macroeconomic relations, the macroeconomist will be able to deduct abstract rules and build models. He may and should look for microfoundations, which, however, will be ad hoc: they will provide a rational explanation to something that was previously observed. The attempt to reduce macro to microeconomics impoverishes economics.

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