October 21, 2005 12:18 master Sheet number 11 Page number ix Introduction As a new graduate student, you are at the beginning of a new stage of your life. In a few months you will be overloaded with deF-nitions, concepts, and models. Your teachers will be guiding you into the wonders of economics and will rarely have the time to stop to raise fundamental questions about what these models are sup-posed to mean. It is not unlikely that you will be brainwashed by the professional-sounding language and hidden assumptions. I am afraid I am about to initiate you into this inevitable process. Still, I want to use this opportunity to pause for a moment and alert you to the fact that many economists have strong and conﬂicting views about what economic theory is. Some see it as a set of theories that can (or should) be tested. Others see it as a bag of tools to be used by economic agents, and yet others see it as a framework through which professional and academic economists view the world. My own view may disappoint those of you who have come to
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