The Positive Economics of Methodology
AbstractDoes an observation constitute stronger evidence for a theory if it was made after rather than before the theory was formulated, when it may have influenced the theory's construction? Philosophers have discussed this question (of "novel confirmation") but have lacked a formal model of scientific research and incentives. The question applies to all types of research. One example in economics involves evaluating models constructed on the basis of VARs (where a researcher looks at evidence and then constructs a theory) versus structural models with formal econometric tests (where a model is constructed before some of the evidence on it is obtained). This paper develops a simple model of scientific research. It discusses the issues that affect the answer to this question of the timing and theory-construction and observation or experimentation. We also address issues of social versus private incentives in the choice of research strategies, and of socially optimal rewards for researchers in the presence of information and incentive constraints.
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 InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Technical Working Papers with number 0082.
Date of creation: Nov 1989
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Kahn, James A., Steven E. Landsburg and Alan C. Stockman. "The Positive Economics Of Methodology," Journal of Economic Theory, 1996, v68(1,Jan), 64-76.
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Kevin D. Hoover & Mark V. Siegler, 2005.
"Sound and Fury: McCloskey and Significance Testing in Economics,"
- Kevin Hoover & Mark Siegler, 2008. "Sound and fury: McCloskey and significance testing in economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 1-37.
- Sullivan, Ryan & Timmermann, Allan & White, Halbert, 2001. "Dangers of data mining: The case of calendar effects in stock returns," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 249-286, November.
- Mitesh Kataria, 2013.
"Confirmation: What's in the evidence?,"
Jena Economic Research Papers, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics
2013-025, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
- Kataria, Mitesh, 2014. "Confirmation: What's in the evidence?," Working Papers in Economics, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics 594, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
- Sullivan, Ryan & Timmermann, Allan & White, Halbert, 1998. "Dangers of Data-Driven Inference: The Case of Calendar Effects in Stock Returns," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, UC San Diego qt2z02z6d9, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.