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A Structural Perspective on the Experimentalist School

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  • Michael P. Keane

Abstract

What has always bothered me about the "experimentalist" school is the false sense of certainty it conveys. My view, like Leamer's, is that there is no way to escape the role of assumptions in statistical work, so our conclusions will always be contingent. Hence, we should be circumspect about our degree of knowledge. I present some lessons for economics from the field of marketing, a field where broad consensus has been reached on many key issues over the past twenty years. In marketing, 1) the structural paradigm is dominant, 2) the data are a lot better than in some fields of economics, and 3) there is great emphasis on external validation. Of course, good data always helps. I emphasize that the ability to do controlled experiments does not obviate the need for theory, and finally I address different approaches to model validation.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael P. Keane, 2010. "A Structural Perspective on the Experimentalist School," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 47-58, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:24:y:2010:i:2:p:47-58
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.24.2.47
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.24.2.47
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Keane, Michael P., 2010. "Structural vs. atheoretic approaches to econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 3-20, May.
    2. Tülin Erdem & Michael P. Keane & Baohong Sun, 2008. "A Dynamic Model of Brand Choice When Price and Advertising Signal Product Quality," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(6), pages 1111-1125, 11-12.
    3. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "Exploring The Usefulness Of A Nonrandom Holdout Sample For Model Validation: Welfare Effects On Female Behavior," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1351-1378, November.
    4. Michael P. Keane, 2011. "Labor Supply and Taxes: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 961-1075, December.
    5. Andrew Ching & Tülin Erdem & Michael Keane, 2009. "The price consideration model of brand choice," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(3), pages 393-420, April.
    6. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule to Estimate the Effect of Class Size on Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics

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