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Models are experiments, experiments are models

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  • Uskali Maki

Abstract

A model is a representation of something beyond itself in the sense of being used as a representative of that something, and in prompting questions of resemblance between the model and that something. Models are substitute systems that are directly examined in order to indirectly acquire information about their target systems. An experiment is an arrangement seeking to isolate a fragment of the world by controlling for causally relevant things outside that fragment. It is suggested that many theoretical models are ('thought') experiments, and that many ordinary experiments are ('material') models. The major difference between the two is that the controls effecting the required isolation are based on material manipulations in one case, and on assumptions in the other.

Suggested Citation

  • Uskali Maki, 2005. "Models are experiments, experiments are models," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 303-315.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:12:y:2005:i:2:p:303-315
    DOI: 10.1080/13501780500086255
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Maki, Uskali, 2000. "Kinds of Assumptions and Their Truth: Shaking an Untwisted F-Twist," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 317-336.
    2. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1980. "Methods and Problems in Business Cycle Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(4), pages 696-715, November.
    3. Uskali Mäki, 2004. "Theoretical isolation and explanatory progress: transaction cost economics and the dynamics of dispute," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 319-346, May.
    4. Loomes, Graham, 1999. "Some Lessons from Past Experiments and Some Challenges for the Future," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages 35-45, February.
    5. Chris Starmer, 1999. "Experiments in economics: should we trust the dismal scientists in white coats?," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 1-30.
    6. Binmore, Ken, 1999. "Why Experiment in Economics?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages 16-24, February.
    7. Francesco Guala, 2002. "On the scope of experiments in economics: comments on Siakantaris," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 261-267, March.
    8. Siakantaris, Nikos, 2000. "Experimental Economics under the Microscope," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 267-281, May.
    9. Loewenstein, George, 1999. "Experimental Economics from the Vantage-Point of Behavioural Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages 23-34, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson & David Schmeidler, 2011. "Economic Models as Analogies, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 12-030, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 31 Jul 2012.
    2. Giorgio Fagiolo & Paul Windrum & Alessio Moneta, 2006. "Empirical Validation of Agent Based Models: A Critical Survey," LEM Papers Series 2006/14, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    3. repec:eee:finsta:v:31:y:2017:i:c:p:107-118 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Klaus M. Schmidt, 2009. "The Role of Experiments for the Development of Economic Theories," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(s1), pages 14-30, May.
    5. Andrea Salanti, 2013. "Between the Scylla of Whig history and the Charybdis of methodological vacuum," Chapters,in: Mark Blaug: Rebel with Many Causes, chapter 14, pages 191-207 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. I. Gilboa & A. Postlewaite & L. Samuelson & D. Schmeidler., 2015. "Economic Models as Analogies," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
    7. Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson & David Schmeidler, 2016. "Economics: Between Prediction and Criticism, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 16-004, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 30 Oct 2016.
    8. SALMON, Pierre, 2005. "Qu'est-ce qui représente quoi? Réflexions sur la nature et le rôle des modèles en économie," LEG - Document de travail - Economie 2005-07, LEG, Laboratoire d'Economie et de Gestion, CNRS, Université de Bourgogne.
    9. Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson & David Schmeidler, 2014. "A Model of Modeling," PIER Working Paper Archive 14-026, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    10. Denis Phan & Franck Varenne, 2010. "Agent-Based Models and Simulations in Economics and Social Sciences: From Conceptual Exploration to Distinct Ways of Experimenting," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 13(1), pages 1-5.
    11. Doganova, Liliana & Eyquem-Renault, Marie, 2009. "What do business models do?: Innovation devices in technology entrepreneurship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1559-1570, December.
    12. Itzhak Gilboa & Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson & David Schmeidler, 2018. "Economics: Between Prediction And Criticism," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 59(2), pages 367-390, May.
    13. Paul Windrum & Giorgio Fagiolo & Alessio Moneta, 2007. "Empirical Validation of Agent-Based Models: Alternatives and Prospects," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 10(2), pages 1-8.

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