A journey through 200 years of models
The World in the Model How Economists Work and Think by Mary S. Morgan Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2012. 439 pp. $125, £75. ISBN 9781107002975. Paper, $39.99, £24.99. ISBN 9780521176194. To many observers, economics appears dry, impersonal, and far removed from actual economic concerns. With its heroes, caricatures, recipes, analogies, narratives, and much more, The World in the Model offers a very different picture. Mary Morgan's book is a "travel guide" through two centuries of economic modeling, including François Quesnay's Tableau Économique, David Ricardo's model farm, Alfred Marshall's diagrams of supply and demand, John Hicks's IS/LM model of the Keynesian system, and the prisoner's dilemma game. Her guide makes the reader appreciate economics much as we come to appreciate a city we had only heard about. We discover its beauty by admiring its landmarks and learning who built them, how they were built, what they represented in the past, and what they mean today.