Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Fashion Cycles in Economics

by

Abstract

We criticize an American Economic Review article that presents itself as a theory of design innovation and fashion cycles. Scrutinizing the model and surrounding prose, we suggest that the article does not make clear what it is that it purports to explain, and that the story of the model fails minimal requirements of factual relevance and intuitiveness. Our broader message is that many “theory” papers are best regarded as mere model-building, a genre of creative writing masquerading as science.

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Volume (Issue)
Pages
437-454
Published
JEL classification
B40, B41, B49
Keywords
Fashion cycle, design, relevance, theory
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