Persuasion: Reflections on economics, data, and the 'homogeneity assumption'
AbstractThis paper discusses issues to do with the empirical basis of modern economics and points towards the need to look more closely at the 'homogeneity assumption' that underpins much economic theory. It argues that severe problems currently prevent economics from becoming more persuasive to both students of economics and those outside the discipline. The issue involves the management of disciplinary boundaries, and excessive use of the 'homogeneity assumption.' Three areas of concern are explored. First is the literature on causes of growth, and the role of policy. The paper documents reasons to doubt the existence of robust relationships between growth and policy variables. Second is the 'homogeneity assumption' that different countries are usefully viewed as members of a single population. Third is evidence suggesting that an assumption of 'normal' maximizing behaviour has to be justified, not just assumed, and that regular deviations from the usual maximizing assumptions occur with gender and culture. The paper argues that a central issue in economic methodology and pedagogy should be, as North implicitly argues, the negotiation of disciplinary boundaries: what economics can versus cannot explain. It suggests more explicitly basing the choice of explanatory models on empirics identifying where the model applies.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Taylor and Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.
Volume (Year): 12 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://taylorandfrancis.metapress.com/link.asp?target=journal&id=104715
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Robert Goldfarb, 1997. "Now you see it, now you don't: emerging contrary results in economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 4(2), pages 221-244.
- McAleer, Michael & Pagan, Adrian, 1985.
"What Will Take the Con Out of Econometrics?,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
39, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Panicos O. Demetriades & Spiros Bougheas, 1995.
"Infrastructure, Specialisation and Economic Growth,"
Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001)
95/15, Department of Economics, Keele University.
- Spiros Bougheas & Panicos O. Demetriades & Theofanis P. Mamuneas, 2000. "Infrastructure, specialization, and economic growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(2), pages 506-522, May.
- Brock,W.A. & Durlauf,S.N., 2000.
"Growth economics and reality,"
24, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
- Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd & Samuel Bowles & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Richard McElreath, 2001. "Cooperation, Reciprocity and Punishment in Fifteen Small-scale Societies," Working Papers 01-01-007, Santa Fe Institute.
- Robert S. Goldfarb & H. O. Stekler, 2000. "Why Do Empirical Results Change? Forecasts as Tests of Rational Expectations," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 32(5), pages 95-116, Supplemen.
- Smith, Vernon L, 1985. "Experimental Economics: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 264-72, March.
- Dennis D. Kimko & Eric A. Hanushek, 2000. "Schooling, Labor-Force Quality, and the Growth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1184-1208, December.
- Hendry, David F & Mizon, Grayham Ernest, 1985. "Procrustean Econometrics: Stretching and Squeezing Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 68, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.