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Mathematical Needs and Economic Interpretations

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  • Miguel A. Duran

Abstract

This paper aims at showing that the disconnection between formal structures and theoretical content in economic model building could lead to undesirable consequences. In this sense, linking formal and verbal contents by means of coherent and relevant interpretations is worth the effort. For it is a relatively simple way of helping to improve the usefulness of mathematical economic theorization. By way of illustration of these ideas, the paper discusses the interpretation which Arrow and Debreu themselves put on the inclusion of free goods in their proof of existence of a general equilibrium.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cpe/bzm014
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Contributions to Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 26 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-16

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Handle: RePEc:oup:copoec:v:26:y:2007:i:1:p:1-16

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References

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  1. Sheila C. Dow, 2003. "Understanding the relationship between mathematics and economics," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 25(4), pages 547-560, July.
  2. Debreu, Gerard, 1991. "The Mathematization of Economic Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 1-7, March.
  3. Hart, Oliver D. & Kuhn, Harold W., 1975. "A proof of the existence of equilibrium without the free disposal assumption," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 335-343, December.
  4. Donald W. Katzner, 2003. "Why mathematics in economics?," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 25(4), pages 561-574, July.
  5. Chick, Victoria, 1998. "On Knowing One's Place: The Role of Formalism in Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(451), pages 1859-69, November.
  6. Creedy, John, 2002. "Adam Smith and All That," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(04), pages 479-489, December.
  7. Chick, Victoria & Dow, Sheila C, 2001. "Formalism, Logic and Reality: A Keynesian Analysis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(6), pages 705-21, November.
  8. Paul Davidson, 2003. "Is "mathematical science" an oxymoron when used to describe economics?," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 25(4), pages 527-545, July.
  9. Bergstrom, Theodore C., 1976. "How to discard `free disposability' - at no cost," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 131-134, July.
  10. Davis, John B, 1999. "Common Sense: A Middle Way between Formalism and Post-Structuralism?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 503-15, July.
  11. Debreu, Gerard, 1986. "Theoretical Models: Mathematical Forms and Economic Content," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1259-70, November.
  12. Douglas W. Hands, 1984. "The Role of Crucial Counterexamples in the Growth of Economic Knowledge: Two Case Studies in the Recent History of Economic Thought," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 59-67, Spring.
  13. Leontief, Wassily, 1971. "Theoretical Assumptions and Nonobserved Facts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 1-7, March.
  14. Backhouse, Roger E, 1998. "If Mathematics Is Informal, Then Perhaps We Should Accept That Economics Must Be Informal Too," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(451), pages 1848-58, November.
  15. Gerard Debreu, 1956. "Market Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 10, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  16. Flavio Comim, 2002. "The Scottish Tradition in Economics and the Role of Common Sense in Adam Smith's Thought," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 91-114.
  17. Coddington, Alan, 1975. "The Rationale of General Equilibrium Theory," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(4), pages 539-58, December.
  18. Debreu,Gerard Introduction by-Name:Hildenbrand,Werner, 1986. "Mathematical Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521335614, October.
  19. Donald W. Katzner, 2002. "What are the questions?," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 25(1), pages 51-68, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Sheila Dow, 2009. "History of Thought and Methodology in Pluralist Economics Education," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 8(2), pages 41-57.

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