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Functions and mechanisms in structural-modelling explanations

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Author Info

  • WUNSCH, Guillaume

    (Université catholique de Louvain, Demography, Belgium)

  • MOUCHART, Michel

    ()
    (Université catholique de Louvain, CORE & ISBA, Belgium)

  • RUSSO, Federica

    (Center Leo Apostel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

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    Abstract

    One way the social scientists explain phenomena is by building structural models. These models are explanatory insofar as they manage to perform a recursive decomposition on an initial multivariate probability distribution, which can be interpreted as a mechanism. The social scientists should include the variables in the model on the basis of their function in the mechanism. This paper examines the notion of ‘function’ within structural modelling. We argue that ‘functions’ ought to be understood as the theoretical underpinnings of the causes, namely as the role that causes play in the functioning of the mechanism.

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    File URL: http://uclouvain.be/cps/ucl/doc/core/documents/coredp2012_56web.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2012056.

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    Date of creation: 31 Dec 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2012056

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    Related research

    Keywords: causality; explanation; function; mechanism; recursive decomposition; structural modelling;

    References

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    1. David de la Croix, 2012. "From Polygamy to Serial Monogamy: a Unified Theory of Marriage Institutions," 2012 Meeting Papers 49, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Carl Gaigné & Stéphane Riou & François Thisse, 2010. "Are compact cities environmentally friendly?," Working Papers SMART - LERECO 10-05, INRA UMR SMART.
    3. Michel Mouchart & Federica Russo & Guillaume Wunsch, 2010. "Inferrig Causal Relations by Modelling Structure," Statistica, Department of Statistics, University of Bologna, vol. 70(4), pages 411-432.
    4. Duranton, Gilles & Martin, Philippe & Mayer, Thierry & Mayneris, Florian, 2010. "The Economics of Clusters: Lessons from the French Experience," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199592203, September.
    5. CESI, Berardino & PAOLINI, dimitri, 2012. "Peer group and distance: when widening university participation is better," CORE Discussion Papers 2012042, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    6. Fleurbaey,Marc & Maniquet,François, 2011. "A Theory of Fairness and Social Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521887427, April.
    7. Michel Mouchart & Marie Vandresse, 2007. "Bargaining powers and market segmentation in freight transport," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(7), pages 1295-1313.
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