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Causality in macroeconometrics: some considerations about reductionism and realism

  • Alessio Moneta

This paper investigates the varieties of reductionism and realism about causal relations in macroeconometrics. There are two issues, which are kept distinct in the analysis but which are interrelated in the development of econometrics. The first one is the question of the reducibility of causal relations to regularities, measured in statistics by correlations. The second one is the question of the reducibility of causes among macroeconomic aggregates to microeconomic behaviour. It is argued that there is a continuum of possible positions between realism and reductionism for both the questions, but, as far as the second question is concerned, the dominant position of mainstream macroeconometrics is strongly reductionist. The paper defends an integrative approach that emphasizes the gradual nature of many real world cases.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Economic Methodology.

Volume (Year): 12 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 433-453

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:12:y:2005:i:3:p:433-453
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  1. Kevin Hoover & Selva Demiralp, 2003. "Searching for the Causal Structure of a Vector Autoregression," Working Papers 33, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  2. Alan P. Kirman, 1992. "Whom or What Does the Representative Individual Represent?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 117-136, Spring.
  3. Christopher A. Sims, 1986. "Are forecasting models usable for policy analysis?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-16.
  4. Ben S. Bernanke, 1986. "Alternative Explanations of the Money-Income Correlation," NBER Working Papers 1842, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Uhlig, Harald, 1999. "What are the Effects of Monetary Policy on Output? Results from an Agnostic Identification Procedure," CEPR Discussion Papers 2137, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Leamer, Edward E., 1985. "Vector autoregressions for causal inference?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 255-304, January.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521002882 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Stock, James H. & Watson, Mark W., 1991. "Stochastic Trends and Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 819-40, September.
  9. Granger, C. W. J., 1980. "Testing for causality : A personal viewpoint," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 329-352, May.
  10. Titus O. Awokuse & David A. Bessler, 2003. "Vector Autoregressions, Policy Analysis, and Directed Acyclic Graphs: An Application to the U.S. Economy," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 1-24, May.
  11. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  12. Lawson, Tony, 1989. "Realism and Instrumentalism in the Development of Econometrics," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(1), pages 236-58, January.
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