Economics, History, and Causation
AbstractEconomics and history both strive to understand causation: economics using instrumental variables econometrics and history by weighing the plausibility of alternative narratives. Instrumental variables can lose value with repeated use because of an econometric tragedy of the commons bias: each successful use of an instrument potentially creates an additional latent variable bias problem for all other uses of that instrument – past and future. Economists should therefore consider historians’ approach to inferring causality from detailed context, the plausibility of alternative narratives, external consistency, and recognition that free will makes human decisions intrinsically exogenous.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16678.
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Morck, Randall & Bernard Yeung. 2011. Economics, History, and Causation. Business History Review 85 : pp 39-63
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics
- C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
- C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
- G0 - Financial Economics - - General
- M2 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Business Economics
- N0 - Economic History - - General
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- Nathan Foley-Fisher (Research and Statistics Division, Federal Reserve Board, Washington D.C.) and Eoin McLaughlin (History, Classics & Archaeology, University of Edinburgh), 2014.
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