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Limits of Econometrics

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  • David A. Freedman
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    Abstract

    In the social and behavioral sciences, far-reaching claims are often made for the superiority of advanced quantitative methods by those who manage to ignore the far-reaching assumptions behind the models. In section 2, we see there was considerable skepticism about disentangling causal processes by statistical modeling. Freedman (2005) examined several well-known modeling exercises, and discovered good reasons for skepticism. Some kinds of problems may yield to sophisticated statistical technique; others will not. The goal of empirical research is or should be to increase our understanding of the phenomena, rather than displaying our mastery of technique.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Econometric Research Association in its journal International Econometric Review.

    Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (April)
    Pages: 5-17

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    Handle: RePEc:erh:journl:v:1:y:2009:i:1:p:5-17

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    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 69-85, Fall.
    2. Evans, William N & Schwab, Robert M, 1995. "Finishing High School and Starting College: Do Catholic Schools Make a Difference?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 941-74, November.
    3. Dewald, William G & Thursby, Jerry G & Anderson, Richard G, 1986. "Replication in Empirical Economics: The Journal of Money, Credit and Banking Project," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 587-603, September.
    4. Elizabeth Ty Wilde & Robinson Hollister, 2007. "How close is close enough? Evaluating propensity score matching using data from a class size reduction experiment," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 455-477.
    5. James L. Heckman, 1999. "Causal Parameters and Policy Analysis in Economcs: A Twentieth Century Retrospective," NBER Working Papers 7333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
    7. Pratt, John W. & Schlaifer, Robert, 1988. "On the interpretation and observation of laws," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 23-52.
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