|Abstract||Economists disagree about whether they should aim to provide explanations, about what they should aim to explain, and about how they should go about explaining. This essay will address all three of these controversies. I shall argue (1) that explanation is a central task in economics, (2) that one should adopt an explicitly causal model of explanation, (3) that economists cannot avoid explaining individual choices and they should attempt to explain the paths that take the economy from one equilibrium to another, and (4) that explanations in economics cite reasons as well as causes. Most of these points apply across different schools of economics, but “economics” in this paper should thus be read as “mainstream economics.”.|
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