IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/hop/hopeec/v44y2012i5p114-136.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Observations in a Hostile Environment: Morgenstern on the Accuracy of Economic Observations

Author

Listed:
  • Marcel Boumans

Abstract

This article provides a history of the treatment of observational errors where conditions cannot be controlled to reduce inaccuracies, more specific, a history of the discussion of errors in social statistics. The main focus is on Oskar Morgenstern’s atypical position in this discussion. In contrast to his contemporary social statisticians, Morgenstern took the natural science approach as the ideal standard for dealing with errors. His position, however, is not atypical when compared with natural science perspectives at that time. His view was attuned with the view of logical empiricism of the 1950s on the difference between natural science and social science: because social science is inexact we need experts to ensure that observations are “scientific.” Moreover, in a “hostile” and “secret” world we need experts to assess the accuracy of the observations.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcel Boumans, 2012. "Observations in a Hostile Environment: Morgenstern on the Accuracy of Economic Observations," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 44(5), pages 114-136, Supplemen.
  • Handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:44:y:2012:i:5:p:114-136
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hope.dukejournals.org/content/44/suppl_1/114.full.pdf+html
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Clarence C. Morrison, 2001. "Magnan de Bornier on Cournot-Bertrand," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, pages 161-165.
    2. Li, Carmen A & Philippopoulos, Apostolis & Tzavalis, Elias, 2000. "Inflation and Exchange Rate Regimes in Mexico," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, pages 87-100.
    3. Kurz,Heinz D. & Salvadori,Neri, 1997. "Theory of Production," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521588676, December.
    4. Dumenil, Gerard & Levy, Dominique, 1987. "The Dynamics of Competition: A Restoration of the Classical Analysis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 133-164, June.
    5. Kaldor, Nicholas, 1972. "The Irrelevance of Equilibrium Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(328), pages 1237-1255, December.
    6. Samuelson, Paul A, 1978. "The Canonical Classical Model of Political Economy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 1415-1434.
    7. Mark Blaug, 1999. "Misunderstanding Classical Economics: The Sraffian Interpretation of the Surplus Approach," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, pages 213-236.
    8. Clarence Morrison, 1998. "Cournot, bertrand, and modern game theory," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, pages 172-174.
    9. Garegnani, Pierangelo, 1984. "Value and Distribution in the Classical Economists and Marx," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(2), pages 291-325, June.
    10. Andrea Lavezzi, 2003. "Smith, Marshall and Young on division of labour and economic growth," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 81-108.
    11. Richard Arena, 1979. "Note sur la conception classique de la concurrence," Cahiers d'Économie Politique, Programme National Persée, pages 119-148.
    12. Heinz D. Kurz & Neri Salvadori, 2002. "Mark Blaug on the “Sraffian Interpretation of the Surplus Approach”," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, pages 225-236.
    13. Vickers, John, 1995. "Concepts of Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 1-23, January.
    14. Heinz Kurz & Neri Salvadori, 2000. "'Classical' Roots of Input-Output Analysis: A Short Account of its Long Prehistory," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 153-179.
    15. Garegnani, Pierangelo, 1983. "The Classical Theory of Wages and the Role of Demand Schedules in the Determination of Relative Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 309-313.
    16. Paul J. McNulty, 1967. "A Note on the History of Perfect Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 395-395.
    17. Nicola GIOCOLI, 2005. "Modeling Rational Agents The Consistency View Of Rationality And The Changing Image Of Neoclassical Economics," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, pages 177-208.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. van Bergeijk, P.A.G., 2017. "Measurement error of global production," ISS Working Papers - General Series 632, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    2. Charles F. Manski, 2015. "Communicating Uncertainty in Official Economic Statistics: An Appraisal Fifty Years after Morgenstern," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 631-653.
    3. Till Düppe & E. Roy Weintraub, 2013. "Siting the New Economic Science: The Cowles Commission’s Activity Analysis Conference of June 1949," Working Papers 0040, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    observation; observing; Oskar Morgenstern;

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:44:y:2012:i:5:p:114-136. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Center for the History of Political Economy Webmaster). General contact details of provider: http://www.dukeupress.edu/Catalog/ViewProduct.php?viewby=journal&productid=45614 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.