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Complexity defying macroeconomics

Author: Pablo Paniagua

Published by Cambridge Journal of Economics


This article contributes to the literature on complexity and macroeconomic models by exploring the analytical relationship and tensions between complex phenomena and macroeconomics. By evaluating the properties of organised complexity, this article suggests alternative strategies for analysing the macroeconomy. Drawing on F. A. Hayek’s notion of organised complexity, I examine how its causal properties relate to the analytical criteria and assumptions that contemporary macroeconomic models use. The purpose is twofold: first, I associate the properties of complexity to the idea of the macroeconomy as an emergent totality arising from the causal interplay between individuals and the organising structure. This conceptually challenges modern macro and frames analytical tensions between complexity and macroeconomic analysis. Second, introducing complexity facilitates breaking away from current analytical and conceptual straitjackets in macroeconomics. Economic inquiry requires looking for alternative ways beyond standard models to analyse the macroeconomy as an emergent totality. This suggests stepping away from current formalistic methods and radical reductionism, in favour of unconventional strategies and approaches that are sensitive to rules, structures, and the causal properties of organised complexity.


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