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Tractable Falsifiability

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  • Ronen Gradwohl
  • Eran Shmaya
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    Abstract

    We propose to strengthen Popper's notion of falsifiability by adding the requirement that when an observation is inconsistent with a theory, there must be a "short proof" of this inconsistency. We model the concept of a short proof using tools from computational complexity, and provide some examples of economic theories that are falsifiable in the usual sense but not with this additional requirement. We consider several variants of the de nition of "short proof" and several assumptions about the difficulty of computation, and study their different implications on the falsifiability of theories. JEL Classification: B400

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1564.

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    Date of creation: 11 Apr 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1564

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    Related research

    Keywords: falsifiability; complexity; empirical content; rationalization;

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    1. Thomas DEMUYNCK, 2011. "The computational complexity of rationalizing Pareto optimal choice behavior," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces11.13, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
    2. Lance Fortnow & Rakesh V. Vohra, 2009. "The Complexity of Forecast Testing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(1), pages 93-105, 01.
    3. Gil Kalai & Ariel Rubenstein & Ran Spiegler, 2001. "Rationalizing Choice Functions by Multiple Rationales," Economics Working Papers 0010, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
    4. Thomas DEMUYNCK, 2010. "The computational complexity of boundedly rational choice behavior," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces10.23, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
    5. Apesteguia, Jose & Ballester, Miguel A., 2010. "The Computational Complexity of Rationalizing Behavior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 356-363, May.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Raising the bar of falsifiability in Economics
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-06-28 14:20:00

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