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Theory versus Application: Does Complexity Crowd Out Evidence?

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  • Philip R. P. Coelho

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Ball State University)

  • James E. McClure

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Ball State University)

Abstract

Donald F. Gordon hypothesized that mathematical complexity in economics is inversely related to operationalism. Here we (i) operationalize Gordon's hypothesis, (ii) test for the significance of trends in complexity for the American Economic Review, Economic Journal, Journal of Political Economy, and Quarterly Journal of Economics, and (iii) test Gordon's hypothesis by conducting analyses of the contents of articles from the American Economic Review (AER), as well as the contents of articles citing the AER articles. The results do not refute the hypothesis that complexity crowds out operationalism in economics. Additionally, the presence of significant, positive trends toward complexity suggests that the magnitude of the crowding out is on the rise in these journals.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 71 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (January)
Pages: 556-565

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:71:3:y:2005:p:556-565

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Web page: http://www.southerneconomic.org/
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Cited by:
  1. Philip R. P. Coelho & James E. McClure, 2007. "The Market for Lemmas," Working Papers, Ball State University, Department of Economics 200702, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2007.
  2. Rex J. Pjesky & Daniel Sutter, 2011. "Does the Lack of a Profit Motive Affect Hiring in Academe? Evidence from the Market for Lawyers," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(4), pages 1053-1084, October.
  3. Lee C. Spector & Courtenay C. Stone, 2010. "Unlikely Estimates of the Ex Ante Real Interest Rate: Another Dismal Performance from the Dismal Science1," Working Papers, Ball State University, Department of Economics 201010, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2011.

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