The irreductibility of macro to microeconomics: a methodological approach

Vol. 16 No. 2 (1996)

Apr-Jun / 1996
Published April 1, 1996

How to Cite

Bresser-Pereira, Luiz Carlos, and Gilberto Tadeu Lima. 1996. “The Irreductibility of Macro to Microeconomics: A Methodological Approach”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 16 (2):175-201.

The irreductibility of macro to microeconomics: a methodological approach

Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira
Fundação Getúlio Vargas de São Paulo – FGV-SP, São Paulo/SP, Brasil.
Gilberto Tadeu Lima
University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA.
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 16 No. 2 (1996), Apr-Jun / 1996, Pages 175-201


This paper criticizes the idea, widespread today, of the need to seek microfoundations
for macroeconomics. The authors argue that these two fields of economics,
micro and macroeconomics, use different methodological approaches. Microeconomics
deals with economic problems according to a logical-deductive methodology, while
macroeconomics is more characterized by a historical-inductive approach. The attempt to
reduce macroeconomics to microeconomics, or vice versa, brings only an impoverishment to
science and economic debate, in which, ideally, there should be room for a great pluralism
of ideas and theoretical currents.

JEL Classification: B41; E10.

Keywords: Economic methodology microfoundations of macroeconomics