A great argument by Acemoglu and Robinson:

Another aspect is the divide between what the academic research in economics does — or is supposed to do — and the general commentary on economics in newspapers or in the blogosphere. When one writes a blog, a newspaper column or a general commentary on economic and policy matters, this often distills well-understood and broadly-accepted notions in economics and draws its implications for a particular topic. In original academic research (especially theoretical research), the point is not so much to apply already accepted notions in a slightly different context or draw their implications for recent policy debates, but to draw new parallels between apparently disparate topics or propositions, and potentially ask new questions in a way that changes some part of an academic debate. For this reason, simplified models that lead to “counterintuitive” (read unexpected) conclusions are particularly valuable; they sometimes make both the writer and the reader think about the problem in a total of different manner (of course the qualifier “sometimes” is important here; sometimes they just fall flat on their face). And because in this type of research the objective is not to construct a model that is faithful to reality but to develop ideas in the most transparent and simplest fashion; realism is not what we often strive for (this contrasts with other types of exercises, where one builds a model for quantitative exercise in which case capturing certain salient aspects of the problem at hand becomes particularly important). Though this is the bread and butter of academic economics, it is often missed by non-economists.

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