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Credible worlds: the status of theoretical models in economics

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  • Robert Sugden

Abstract

Using as examples Akerlof's 'market for ''lemons''' and Schelling's 'checkerboard' model of racial segregation, this paper asks how economists' abstract theoretical models can explain features of the real world. It argues that such models are not abstractions from, or simplifications of, the real world. They describe counterfactual worlds which the modeller has constructed. The gap between model world and real world can be filled only by inductive inference, and we can have more confidence in such inferences, the more credible the model is as an account of what could have been true.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 7 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-31

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:7:y:2001:i:1:p:1-31

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Related research

Keywords: Methodology Of Economics; Economic Models; Induction;

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Production function and preference relation: Archetypes of economics
    by Matt Nolan in TVHE on 2013-01-24 20:00:15
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    by Matt Nolan in The Invisible Hand in Economics on 2013-06-19 20:10:25
  3. On economics as method
    by Matt Nolan in TVHE on 2013-06-19 20:10:25
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    by Matt Nolan in The Invisible Hand in Economics on 2013-09-25 20:00:19
  5. Quote of the day: Uskali Maki on economics
    by Matt Nolan in The Invisible Hand in Economics on 2013-11-11 19:00:14
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Cited by:
  1. Horacio A. Aguirre, 2011. "On the “Science” of Monetary Policy: Methodological Notes," Ensayos Económicos, Central Bank of Argentina, Economic Research Department, vol. 1(64), pages 83-115, October -.

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