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Can Econometric Analysis Make (Agricultural) Economics A Hard Science? Critical Remarks And Implications For Economic Methodology

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  • Petrick, Martin

Abstract

This paper argues that mainstream economics does not follow the positivist research tradition it (often implicitly) claims to follow and expresses some serious doubt that econometrics in particular can make economics a hard science. Mathematical rigour and sophisticated statistical techniques may be regarded as persuasive analytical tools in economics, but their mere application does not guarantee good research practice. The paper outlines an alternative methodological view of pragmatic instrumentalism in which the well known tools of economic analysis can find a new place. Instead of relying on a narrow rule that purports to produce universal truth, this view encourages to increase the target area for questioning and probing. Much more attention is paid to the communicative aspects of scientific methodology in which terms an analysis is framed, and under what conditions, to whom, by whom, and by which means it is articulated. ZUSAMMENFASSUNG MACHT DIE ÖKONOMETRIE DIE (AGRAR-) ÖKONOMIE ZU EINER HARTEN WISSENSCHAFT? Der Beitrag vertritt den Standpunkt, dass die Wirtschaftswissenschaften nicht der positivistischen Forschungstradition folgen, der sie (oft implizit) vorgeben zu folgen. Darüber hinaus wird Zweifel geäußert, dass die Ökonometrie im Besonderen in der Lage ist, die Ökonomie zu einer harten Wissenschaft zu machen. Mathematische Stringenz und anspruchsvolle statistische Verfahren mögen als überzeugende Analyseinstrumente der Ökonomie gelten, allein ihre Anwendung garantiert jedoch noch keine gute Forschungspraxis. Der Beitrag skizziert eine alternative Betrachtungsweise, die einem pragmatischen Instrumentalismus folgt und in der die bekannten Instrumente der ökonomischen Analyse einen neuen Platz finden können. Anstatt auf eine enge Regel zu vertrauen, die vorgibt, universelle Wahrheiten hervorzubringen, sollte die Zielfläche für das Hinterfragen und Nachforschen vergrößert werden. Wesentlich mehr Aufmerksamkeit wird den kommunikativen Aspekten wissenschaftlicher Arbeit gewidmet mit Hilfe welcher Begriffe eine Analyse vorgenommen wird, und unter welchen Bedingungen, im Hinblick auf wen, durch wen und auf welche Weise sie artikuliert wird.

Suggested Citation

  • Petrick, Martin, 2004. "Can Econometric Analysis Make (Agricultural) Economics A Hard Science? Critical Remarks And Implications For Economic Methodology," IAMO Discussion Papers 14911, Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iamodp:14911
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.14911
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    File URL: https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/14911/files/dp040062.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
    2. Brandes, Wilhelm, 1989. "On the Limitations of Armchair Economics: Some Views of an Armchair Agricultural Economist," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Oxford University Press and the European Agricultural and Applied Economics Publications Foundation, vol. 16(3), pages 319-343.
    3. Frohberg, Klaus & Hartmann, Monika, 1997. "Promoting CEA agricultural exports through association agreements with the EU: why it is not working," IAMO Discussion Papers 1, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO).
    4. Frohberg, Klaus & Hartmann, Monika, 1997. "Comparing measures of competitiveness," IAMO Discussion Papers 2, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO).
    5. Mayer, Thomas, 1980. "Economics as a Hard Science: Realistic Goal or Wishful Thinking?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(2), pages 165-178, April.
    6. Hanf, Claus-Henning, 1997. "Agricultural Economics in Europe: A Thriving Science for a Shrinking Sector?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Oxford University Press and the European Agricultural and Applied Economics Publications Foundation, vol. 24(3-4), pages 565-578.
    7. Leontief, Wassily, 1971. "Theoretical Assumptions and Nonobserved Facts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 1-7, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Castro Campos, Bente, 2013. "Human capital differences or labor market discrimination? The occupational outcomes of ethnic minorities in rural Guizhou (China)," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), volume 73, number 73.

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    Keywords

    Research Methods/ Statistical Methods;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General

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