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A History of the Histories of Econometrics


  • Marcel Boumans
  • Ariane Dupont-Kieffer


Econometricians have from the start considered historical knowledge of their own discipline as reflexive knowledge useful for delineating their discipline, that is, for setting its disciplinary boundaries with respect to its aims, its methods, and its scientific values. As such, the histories written by econometricians reflect the scientific image of their discipline in a given period. Each image of a period is drawn by denominating forerunners and founding fathers and uses the language of the dominant philosophy of science of that day. At the end of the nineteenth century, a scientific theory had to be mathematical; in the interbellum the image of science was that of logical positivism. In the 1970s and 1980s the dominant views were those of Karl Popper, Imre Lakatos, and Thomas Kuhn. Currently the scientific image in econometrics is the one of the Stanford school (Nancy Cartwright, Ian Hacking, and Patrick Suppes).

Suggested Citation

  • Marcel Boumans & Ariane Dupont-Kieffer, 2011. "A History of the Histories of Econometrics," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 43(5), pages 5-31, Supplemen.
  • Handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:43:y:2011:i:5:p:5-31

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Christ, Carl F, 1994. "The Cowles Commission's Contributions to Econometrics at Chicago, 1939-1955," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 30-59, March.
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    9. Spanos,Aris, 1986. "Statistical Foundations of Econometric Modelling," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521269124, March.
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    16. Kevin Hoover, 2001. "Introduction," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 167-167.
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    Cited by:

    1. n.d., 2015. "Glimpses of Henry Schultz in Mussolini’s 1934 Italy," HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT AND POLICY, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(2), pages 93-113.
    2. repec:hal:journl:dumas-00906285 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    econometrics; Karl Popper; Imre Lakatos; Thomas Kuhn; Nancy Cartwright; Ian Hacking; Patrick Suppes;

    JEL classification:

    • B23 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Econometrics; Quantitative and Mathematical Studies


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