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Evaluating the historiography of the Great Depression: explanation or single-theory driven?

Listed author(s):
  • Rick Szostak

Following James Rule and Colin Clark, a single-theory-driven approach to scientific inquiry which focuses on testing particular theories can be distinguished from an explanation-driven approach which is open to all observations and whose results do not cease to have value with the passing of a particular theory. Several 'decision points' in the historiography of the Great Depression are examined and it is shown that the decisions made at each point reflect a single-theory-driven orientation. It is argued that the single-theory-driven approach likely characterizes other fields of Economics, and also that this paper's method of applying a 'test' to various decision points in the evolution of economic thought is of widespread utility. The likely cost of a single-theory-driven bias in terms of our collective understanding is discussed.

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File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1350178042000330896
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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 12 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 35-61

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:12:y:2005:i:1:p:35-61
DOI: 10.1080/1350178042000330896
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  1. Zarnowitz, Victor, 1992. "Business Cycles," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226978901.
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