I’ve been asked to review an article using computable general equilibrium (CGE) methodology. I’m likely to decline, but before I do I want to ask the vast universe that follows this blog: is there any defense against the argument that CGE and its offspring (DSGE) are simply bad economics?
There are two arguments actually:
1. CGE is an attempt to implement empirically a model that has been blown away theoretically. For 30 years we have known in precise terms why representative agent GE models are hogwash. We also know that the conditions for unique solutions are impossibly restrictive. Finally, while we have models that can translate modern, post-utility understanding of economic behavior into functional form, to do this throughout an economy, in every nook and sector, would be a gargantuan, and probably pointless, project. To put it bluntly, CGE modelers take as their starting point refuted theory.
2. CGE is false empiricism. It claims to generate results based on real-world data, but testing is nil, and I mean nil. Is there any literature out there I have missed in which past models are examined retrospectively against actual economic outcomes? If not, where is the falsifiability?
I will wait to send my rejection email. Maybe one of you can convince me that it is worth a few hours of my time to promote “better” CGE work.