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


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.

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Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 76 (2009)
Issue (Month): s1 (October)
Pages: 873-890

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:76:y:2009:i:s1:p:873-890
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  1. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
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  7. Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1990. "The Fable of the Keys," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-25, April.
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  11. Engle, Robert & Granger, Clive, 2015. "Co-integration and error correction: Representation, estimation, and testing," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 39(3), pages 106-135.
  12. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1993. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," NBER Working Papers 4509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Hoover, Kevin D, 1995. "Facts and Artifacts: Calibration and the Empirical Assessment of Real-Business-Cycle Models," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 24-44, January.
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