Contrastive explanation and unrealistic models: The case of the new economic geography
AbstractThe contrastive approach to explanation is employed to shed light on the issue of the unrealisticness of models and their assumptions in economics. If we take explanations to be answers to contrastive questions of the form, then unrealistic elements such as omissions and idealizations are (at least partly) dependent on the selected contrast. These contrast-dependent assumptions are shown to serve the function of fixing the shared causal background between the fact and the foil. It is argued that looking at the explanations offered by economic models in contrastive terms helps to be precise about their explanatory potential, and hence, to assess the adequacy of their unrealistic assumptions. I apply the insights of the contrastive approach to the 'new economic geography' models, and to a selection of criticisms directed at them. This case illustrates how a contrastive analysis can help the solution of disputes concerning the unrealisticness of particular models.
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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Taylor and Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.
Volume (Year): 13 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
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.:
- Scotchmer, Suzanne & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1992. "Space and Competition: A Puzzle," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 269-86, September.
- Gianmarco I P Ottaviano & Jacques-Fran�ois Thisse, 2005.
"New economic geography: what about the N?,"
Environment and Planning A,
Pion Ltd, London, vol. 37(10), pages 1707-1725, October.
- Ottaviano, Gianmarco Ireo Paolo & Puga, Diego, 1997.
"Agglomeration in the Global Economy: A Survey of the 'New Economic Geography',"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1699, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Diego Puga, 1998. "Agglomeration in the Global Economy: A Survey of the 'New Economic Geography'," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(6), pages 707-731, 08.
- Ottaviano, Gianmarco I. P., 2002.
"Regional policy in the global economy : insights from new economic geography,"
HWWA Discussion Papers
211, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
- Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2003. "Regional Policy in the Global Economy: Insights from New Economic Geography," Regional Studies, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 37(6-7), pages 665-673.
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.