Giarratano JC Expert systems: principles and programming. Shaw MC Metal cutting principles. Li B, Melkote SN An elastic contact model for the prediction of workpiece—fixture contact forces in clamping. Li B, Melkote SN Fixture clamping force optimization and its impact on workpiece location accuracy. Johnson KL Contact mechanics. Cecil J Computer aided fixture design: using information intensive function models in the development of automated fixture design system. Henriksen EK Jig and fixture design manual. SETU has raised funds for several charitable organizations in the past. SETU has been raising awareness of Indian social issues by performing small skits. In addition, SETU encourages members of the community to participate as actors, playwrights, directors, dancers, technicians, and backstage crew. Those who come onboard as actors receive comprehensive acting training. What I found myself doing in the new trade theory was pretty much the opposite. I found myself using assumptions that were unfamiliar, and doing very simple things with them. Doing this requires a lot of self-confidence, because initially people especially referees are almost certain not simply to criticize your work but to ridicule it. After all, your assumptions will surely look peculiar: a continuum of goods all with identical production functions, entering symmetrically into utility? Countries of identical economic size, with mirror-image factor endowments? Why, people will ask, should they be interested in a model with such silly assumptions -- especially when there are evidently much smarter young people who demonstrate their quality by solving hard problems? What seems terribly hard for many economists to accept is that all our models involve silly assumptions. Given what we know about cognitive psychology, utility maximization is a ludicrous concept; equilibrium pretty foolish outside of financial markets; perfect competition a howler for most industries. The reason for making these assumptions is not that they are reasonable but that they seem to help us produce models that are helpful metaphors for things that we think happen in the real world. Consider the example which some economists seem to think is not simply a useful model but revealed divine truth: the Arrow-Debreu model of perfect competition with utility maximization and complete markets. This is indeed a wonderful model -- not because its assumptions are remotely plausible but because it helps us think more clearly about both the nature of economic efficiency and the prospects for achieving efficiency under a market system. It is actually a piece of inspired, marvellous silliness. What I believe is that the age of creative silliness is not past. Virtue, as an economic theorist, does not consist in squeezing the last drop of blood out of assumptions that have come to seem natural because they have been used in a few hundred earlier papers. If a new set of assumptions seems to yield a valuable set of insights, then never mind if they seem strange. Simplify, simplify The injunction to dare to be silly is not a license to be undisciplined. In fact, doing really innovative theory requires much more intellectual discipline than working in a well-established literature. What is really hard is to stay on course: since the terrain is unfamilar, it is all too easy to find yourself going around in circles. Somewhere or other Keynes wrote that "it is astonishing what foolish things a man thinking alone can come temporarily to believe". And it is also crucial to express your ideas in a way that other people, who have not spent the last few years wrestling with your problems and are not eager to spend the next few years wrestling with your answers, can understand without too much effort. Fortunately, there is a strategy that does double duty: it both helps you keep control of your own insights, and makes those insights accessible to others. The strategy is: always try to express your ideas in the simplest possible model. The act of stripping down to this minimalist model will force you to get to the essence of what you are trying to say and will also make obvious to you those situations in which you actually have nothing to say. And this minimalist model will then be easy to explain to other economists as well. I have used the "minimum necessary model" approach over and over again: using a one-factor, one-industry model to explain the basic role of monopolistic competition in trade; assuming sector-specific labor rather than full Heckscher-Ohlin factor substitution to explain the effects of intraindustry trade; working with symmetric countries to assess the role of reciprocal dumping; and so on. In each case the effect has been to allow me to tackle a subject widely viewed as formidably difficult with what appears, at first sight, to be ridiculous simplicity. The downside of this strategy is, of course, that many of your colleagues will tend to assume that an insight that can be expressed in a cute little model must be trivial and obvious -- it takes some sophistication to realize that simplicity may be the result of years of hard thinking. I have heard the story that when Joseph Stiglitz was being considered for tenure at Yale, one of his senior colleagues belittled his work, saying that it consisted mostly of little models rather than deep theorems. Another colleague then asked, "But couldn't you say the same about Paul Samuelson"? I have heard the same reaction to my own work. Luckily, there are enough sophisticated economists around that in the end intellectual justice is usually served. And there is a special delight in managing not only to boldly go where no economist has gone before, but to do so in a way that seems after the fact to be almost childs' play. I have now described my basic rules for research. I have illustrated them with my experience in developing the "new trade theory" and with my more recent extension of that work to economic geography, because these are the core of my work. But I have also done quite a lot of other stuff, which it seems to me is also in some sense part of the same enterprise. So in the remainder of this essay I want to talk about this other work, and in particular about how the policy economist and the analytical economist can coexist in the same person. There seems to be a consensus that the clarity and singleness of purpose required to do good theory are incompatible with the tolerance for messy issues required to be active in policy discussion. For me, however, it has never worked that way. I have interspersed my academic career with a number of consulting ventures for various governments and public agencies, as well as a full year in the US government. I have also written a book, The Age of Diminished Expectations, aimed at a non-technical audience. And I have written a pretty steady stream of papers that are motivated not by the inner logic of my research but by the attempt to make sense of some currently topical policy debate -- e. All of this hasn't seemed to hurt my research, and indeed some of my favorite papers have grown out of this policy-oriented work. Why doesn't policy-relevant work seem to conflict with my "real" research? I think that it's because I have been able to approach policy issues using almost exactly the same method that I use in my more basic work. Paying attention to newspaper reports or the concerns of central bankers and finance ministers is just another form of listening to the Gentiles. Trying to find a useful way of defining their problems is pretty much the same as questioning the question in theory. Confronting supposedly knowledgeable people with an unorthodox view of an issue certainly requires the courage to be silly. And of course, ruthless simplification is worth even more in policy discussion than in theory for its own sake. So doing policy-relevant economics does not, for me, mean a drastic change in intellectual style. And it has its own payoffs. Let's be honest and admit that these include invitations to fancier conferences and speaking engagements at much higher fees than an academic purist is likely to get. Let's also admit that one of the joys of policy research is the opportunity to shock the bourgeoisie, to point out the hollowness or silliness of official positions. For example, I know that I was not the only international economist to have some fun pointing out the absurdities of the Maastricht Treaty, and was not above some wicked pleasure when the ERM crisis I and others had long predicted actually came to pass in the fall of The main payoff to policy work, though, is intellectual stimulation. Not all real-world questions are interesting -- I find that almost anything having to do with taxation is better than a sleeping pill -- but every couple of years, if not more often, the international economy throws up a question that gives rise to exciting research. All of them are papers that I think could stand on their own, even without the policy context. There is, of course, always a risk that an economist who gets onto the policy circuit will no longer have enough time for real research. I certainly write an awfully large number of conference papers; I am a very fast writer, but perhaps it is a gift I overuse. Still, I think that the big danger of doing policy research is not so much the drain on your time as the threat to your values. It is easy to be seduced into the belief that direct influence on policy is more important than just writing papers -- I've seen it happen to many colleagues. Once you start down that road, once you begin to think that David Mulford matters more than Bob Solow, or to prefer hobnobbing with the Ruritanian finance minister to talking theory with Avinash Dixit, you are probably lost to research. Pretty soon you'll probably start using "impact" as a verb. Fortunately, while I love playing around with policy issues, I have never been able to take policy makers very seriously. This lack of seriousness gets me into occasional trouble -- like the time that a gentle parenthetical joke about the French in a conference paper led to an extended diatribe from the French official attending the conference -- and may exclude me from ever holding any important policy position. But that's OK: in the end, I would rather write a few more good papers than hold a position of real power. Note to the policy world: this doesn't mean that I would necessarily turn down such a position if it were offered!
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