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Exploring different visions of the model-empirics nexus: Solow versus Lipsey


  • Robert Goldfarb
  • Jonathan Ratner


Does empirical work in economics both provoke and test theoretical models, or does model development proceed according to a theory-oriented research program, with little interaction with empirics? Robert Solow and Richard Lipsey have articulated different visions of this relationship. This paper: (i) describes these competing Solow versus Lipsey views; (ii) presents examples illustrating each view; and (iii) draws inferences about factors promoting a close relation between empirics and modeling. Three examples are examined in detail: the 'nursing shortage' literature; Lind's analysis of recent rent control models; and a wide-ranging evaluation of 'is there too little theory in development economics?' by leading development economists. Various factors promoting or inhibiting a close connection between modeling and empirics are identified.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Goldfarb & Jonathan Ratner, 2009. "Exploring different visions of the model-empirics nexus: Solow versus Lipsey," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 159-174.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:16:y:2009:i:2:p:159-174
    DOI: 10.1080/13501780902940745

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard G. Lipsey, 2009. "Some Legacies of Robbins' "An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science"," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(s1), pages 845-856, October.


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