Unobservability, tractability and the battle of assumptions
Economic models often include unrealistic assumptions. This does not mean, however, that economists lack a concern for the truth of their assumptions. Unrealistic assumptions are frequently imposed because the effects are taken to be negligible or because the problem at hand is intractable without them. Using the Musgrave-Maki typology as the point of departure, these claims are defended with respect to theories proposed by Solow, Hall and Roeger concerning productivity growth and the mark-up. Since they are unobservable, their values need to be inferred from the values of observable variables. Assumptions such as perfect competition and constant returns to scale are used for making this inference or measurement problem tractable. Other assumptions are justified in terms of negligibility. These findings support the fecundity of the (amended) Musgrave-Maki typology of assumptions - including the notion of a tractability assumption proposed here. Finding ways of relaxing tractability assumptions turns out to be an important source of progress in economics.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 12 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/RJEC20|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/RJEC20|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Robert E. Hall, 1986.
"The Relation Between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry,"
NBER Working Papers
1785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-947, October.
- Thomas Mayer, 2003.
"The Domain Of Theories And Tests By The Realism Of Assumptions,"
9811, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
- Thomas Mayer, "undated". "The Domain Of Theories And Tests By The Realism Of Assumptions," Department of Economics 98-11, California Davis - Department of Economics.
- Takayama,Akira, 1985. "Mathematical Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521314985, October.
- Hulten, Charles R., 1986. "Productivity change, capacity utilization, and the sources of efficiency growth," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 31-50.
- Thomas Mayer, 1999. "The domain of hypotheses and the realism of assumptions," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 319-330.
- D. J. Robertson, 1966. "Introduction," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 13(1), pages 1-4, 02.
- Jesú s P. Zamora Bonilla, 1999. "Verisimilitude and the scientific strategy of economic theory," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 331-350.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:12:y:2005:i:3:p:383-406. 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: (Michael McNulty)
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.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.