is a summary measure describing a market or economy. The aggregation problem
refers to the difficulty of treating an empirical
or theoretical aggregate as if it reacted like a less-aggregated measure, say, about behavior of an individual agent
as described in general microeconomic theory
(Fisher, 1987, p. 54). Examples of aggregates in micro- and macroeconomics
relative to less aggregated counterparts are:
Standard theory uses simple assumptions to derive general, and commonly accepted, results such as the law of demand to explain market behavior. An example is the abstraction of a composite good. It considers the price of one good changing proportionately to the composite good, that is, all other goods. If this assumption is violated and the agents are subject to aggregated utility functions, restrictions on the latter are necessary to yield the law of demand. The aggregation problem emphasizes:
- how broad such restrictions are in microeconomics
- that use of broad factor inputs ('labor' and 'capital'), real 'output', and 'investment', as if there was only a single such aggregate is without a solid foundation for rigorously deriving analytical results.
Franklin Fisher (1987, p. 55) notes that this has not dissuaded macroeconomists from continuing to use such terms.
- Franklin M. Fisher (1987). "aggregation problem," The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 1, pp. 53-55.
- Jesus Felipe and Franklin M. Fisher (2008). "aggregation (production)," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
- John R. Hicks (1939, 2nd ed. 1946). Value and Capital.
- Werner Hildenbrand (2008). "aggregation (theory)," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
- Thomas M. Stoker (2008). "aggregation (econometrics)," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.