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Robbins on Economic Generalizations and Reality in the Light of Modern Econometrics

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  • ROGER E. BACKHOUSE
  • STEVEN N. DURLAUF

Abstract

This paper examines Lionel Robbins' critical attitude towards formal empirical work from the standpoint of modern econometrics. It argues that his attitude towards empirical work rested on indefensible assumptions and that he failed to realise that the role he saw for empirical work undermined his belief in the primacy of economic theory. This matters because Robbins' attitudes are echoed in modern economics, best exemplified by the calibration methodology of Kydland and Prescott, which is vulnerable to similar criticisms. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger E. Backhouse & Steven N. Durlauf, 2009. "Robbins on Economic Generalizations and Reality in the Light of Modern Econometrics," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(s1), pages 873-890, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:76:y:2009:i:s1:p:873-890
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Chernomas & Ian Hudson, 2013. "Steven Levitt on Abortion and Crime: Old Economics in New Bottles," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(3), pages 675-700, July.

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