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Complexity and Empirical Economics

  • Steven N. Durlauf

This article explores the state of interplay between recent efforts to introduce complex systems methods into economics and the understanding of empirical phenomena. The empirical side of economic complexity may be divided into three general branches: historical studies, the identification of power and scaling laws, and analyses of social interactions. I argue that, while providing useful 'stylised facts', none of these empirical approaches has produced compelling evidence that economic contexts exhibit the substantive microstructure or properties of complex systems. This failure reflects inadequate attention to identification problems. Identification analysis should therefore be at the centre of future work on the empirics of complexity. Copyright 2005 Royal Economic Society.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 115 (2005)
Issue (Month): 504 (06)
Pages: F225-F243

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:115:y:2005:i:504:p:f225-f243
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