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Duhem-Quine, Lakatos and Research Programmes in Economics


  • B.J. Heijdra

    (Department of Economics, University of Tasmania, G.P.O. Box 252C, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia)

  • A.D. Lowenberg

    (Department of Economics, California State University, Northridge, CA 91330, U.S.A.)


The Lakatosian methodology of scientific research programmes (MSRP) is intended to circumvent the epistemological difficulties associated with various brands of falsificationist method, of which the most important is the Duhem-Quine problem. We reject the view that Lakatos’ MSRP needs to be re-interpreted before it can be used to appraise economic theories. A correct understanding of Lakatos’ distinction between the hard core and protective belt of a research programme leads to the recognition that conflicting theories can be accommodated within the same programme. This avoids much of the confusion encountered by some economists who have attempted to develop taxonomies of economic theories within a Lakatosian framework, but have made the mistake of overpopulating the discipline of economics with a plethora of spurious research programmes. Many of the latter are more usefully treated as subdisciplinary demi-cores within an overall neoclassical programme.

Suggested Citation

  • B.J. Heijdra & A.D. Lowenberg, 1986. "Duhem-Quine, Lakatos and Research Programmes in Economics," Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, , vol. 1(3), pages 175-187, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jinter:v:1:y:1986:i:3:p:175-187

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    Cited by:

    1. Morten Søberg, 2002. "The Duhem-Quine thesis and experimental economics. A reinterpretation," Discussion Papers 329, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    2. Broström , Anders & Karlsson, Staffan, 2015. "Unraveling the R&D-Innovation-Productivity relationship - a study of an academic endavour," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 414, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    3. Søberg, Morten, 2003. "The Duhem-Quine thesis and experimental economics: A reinterpretation," Memorandum 21/2002, Oslo University, Department of Economics.

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