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Robbins on Economic Generalizations and Reality in the Light of Modern Econometrics

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  • ROGER E. BACKHOUSE
  • STEVEN N. DURLAUF

Abstract

This paper examines Lionel Robbins' critical attitude towards formal empirical work from the standpoint of modern econometrics. It argues that his attitude towards empirical work rested on indefensible assumptions and that he failed to realise that the role he saw for empirical work undermined his belief in the primacy of economic theory. This matters because Robbins' attitudes are echoed in modern economics, best exemplified by the calibration methodology of Kydland and Prescott, which is vulnerable to similar criticisms. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2009.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 76 (2009)
Issue (Month): s1 (October)
Pages: 873-890

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:76:y:2009:i:s1:p:873-890

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  1. Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1990. "The Fable of the Keys," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-25, April.
  2. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1991. " The Econometrics of the General Equilibrium Approach to Business Cycles," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(2), pages 161-78.
  3. Kevin D. Hoover & Katarina Juselius & Søren Johansen, 2007. "Allowing the Data to Speak Freely: The Macroeconometrics of the Cointegrated Vector Autoregression," Discussion Papers 07-35, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1993. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," Working Papers 694, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. Oded Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," GE, Growth, Math methods 0409003, EconWPA.
  6. James J. Heckman, 2000. "Causal Parameters And Policy Analysis In Economics: A Twentieth Century Retrospective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 45-97, February.
  7. repec:att:wimass:9512 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  9. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1992. "Employment effects of minimum and subminimum wages: Panel data on state minimum wage laws," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 55-81, October.
  10. Hoover, Kevin D, 1995. "Facts and Artifacts: Calibration and the Empirical Assessment of Real-Business-Cycle Models," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 24-44, January.
  11. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
  12. Engle, Robert F & Granger, Clive W J, 1987. "Co-integration and Error Correction: Representation, Estimation, and Testing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 251-76, March.
  13. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  14. John Kennan, 1995. "The Elusive Effects of Minimum Wages," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1950-1965, December.
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