Measurement, Quantification, and Economic Analysis: Numeracy in Economics

By Ingrid H. Rima | Go to book overview

NOTES
1
Summers (1991:133) makes the telling point that attempts to replicate the work of others, which play a major role in other disciplines, are negligible in econometrics except for the purposes of audit (1991:133).
2
This is a phrase used by Keynes (e.g. 1936:3).
3
Summers (1991:143-5) describes his own discussion of the role of theory as “tentative reflections”.
4
Summers, however, does not use this terminology. See Pheby (1988:30-1) for an explanation of the Duhem-Quine problem.
5
It is, of course, highly debatable whether the latter is at all a feasible objective in economics. See McCloskey (1983:487-8).
6
At least to any remaining “poets” in the economics profession, as Harcourt (1972:14) calls non-quantitative types.
7
See Hodgson (1988:86-93) for a discussion (in a somewhat different context) of the inherent difficulties involved in the interpretation of empirical evidence.
8
Keynes (1936:3n. ) admitted that this usage was a “solecism”. Historians of thought typically distinguish between the “classical school”, including Smith, Ricardo et al., and the “neoclassicals” of the generation after the marginalist revolution of the 1870s. Keynes’s terminology included both of these groups.
9
On the contemporary status of the concept of “involuntary unemployment” see Blinder (1987:131).
10
In terms of broad intellectual history it is by no means clear why the name of Keynes should be so firmly associated with the later work of Phillips or, even more incongruously, with econometric work in the direct line of descent from the pioneering work of Tinbergen which Keynes (1939) had so harshly criticized. Nonetheless, the large-scale econometric models had certainly come to be regarded as “Keynesian” by the majority of the economics profession in the 1970s, and hence empirical problems for the econometricians were empirical problems for Keynesianism also.
11
For a clear intermediate level textbook treatment of these issues see the first edition of Parkin (1982).
12
This is not to suggest that the cited author would himself dismiss this evidence. On the value of “anecdotal” (i.e. historical) evidence see also Kindleberger (1989: xii, 243).
13
See Hamouda and Smithin (1988:277-85) for an elaboration of what is meant by the term “rational” in contemporary economic analysis.
14
See also Hodgson (1988: x-xiv).
15
The term “research tradition” in Laudan is analogous to the “paradigm” of Kuhn and the “research programme” of Lakatos. See Pheby (1988:73).

REFERENCES
Blanchard, O. J. and Fischer, S. (1989) Lectures on Macroeconomics, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Blinder, A. (1987) “Keynes, Lucas and scientific progress”, American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings 77 (May).
Denison, E. (1967) Why Growth Rates Differ, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.
Fama, E. F. (1970) “Efficient capital markets: a review of theory and empirical work”, Journal of Finance 25 (May):383-17.

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