The Big and the Small in Economics and Sociology
June 16, 2010
Economist Mark Thoma has an interesting piece up at the blog Money Watch: The Macroeconomic Foundations of Microeconomics. Thoma argues that microeconomists need to take as their starting point one of the assumptions of modern macroeconomics – that sticky prices prevent markets from moving immediately to equilibrium – and build models in light of that assumption to help macroeconomists understood macrodynamics. In other words, microeconomists need macrofoundations.
It’s a neat argument, and I encourage everyone to read the relatively short essay. I also wonder if there might not be similar analogies that would hold over in the land of Sociology, with all our debates about bath-tub models and microfoundations and whatnot. Are there macrofoundations that need to be worked into microsociological models to be further explored? Are we doing that already? Is the whole micro-macro metaphor thing a big waste of time and energy?