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Mathematical needs and economic interpretations

  • Miguel A. Durán

    ()

    (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada)

This paper aims at showing that the disconnection between formal structures and theoretical content in economic model building could lead to undesirable consequences. In this sense, linking formal and verbal contents by means of coherent and relevant interpretations is worth the effort. For it is a relatively simple way of helping to improve the usefulness of mathematical economic theorization. By way of illustration of these ideas, the paper discusses the interpretation which Arrow and Debreu themselves put on the inclusion of free goods in their proof of existence of a general equilibrium.

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File URL: http://www.ugr.es/~teoriahe/RePEc/gra/wpaper/thepapers05_07.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada. in its series ThE Papers with number 05/07.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gra:wpaper:05/07
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  1. Comim, Flavio, 2000. "The Santa Fe approach to complexity: a Marshallian evaluation," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-2), pages 25-43, July.
  2. Chick, Victoria & Dow, Sheila C, 2001. "Formalism, Logic and Reality: A Keynesian Analysis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(6), pages 705-21, November.
  3. Paul Davidson, 2003. "Is "mathematical science" an oxymoron when used to describe economics?," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 25(4), pages 527-545, July.
  4. Chick, Victoria, 1998. "On Knowing One's Place: The Role of Formalism in Economics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(451), pages 1859-69, November.
  5. Debreu, Gerard, 1986. "Theoretical Models: Mathematical Forms and Economic Content," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1259-70, November.
  6. Bergstrom, Theodore C., 1976. "How to discard `free disposability' - at no cost," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 131-134, July.
  7. Creedy, J., 2001. "Adam Smith and All That," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 803, The University of Melbourne.
  8. Backhouse, Roger E, 1998. "If Mathematics Is Informal, Then Perhaps We Should Accept That Economics Must Be Informal Too," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(451), pages 1848-58, November.
  9. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521335614 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Debreu, Gerard, 1991. "The Mathematization of Economic Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 1-7, March.
  11. Gerard Debreu, 1956. "Market Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 10, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  12. Flavio Comim, 2002. "The Scottish Tradition in Economics and the Role of Common Sense in Adam Smith's Thought," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 91-114.
  13. Davis, John B, 1999. "Common Sense: A Middle Way between Formalism and Post-Structuralism?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 503-15, July.
  14. Leontief, Wassily, 1971. "Theoretical Assumptions and Nonobserved Facts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 1-7, March.
  15. Donald W. Katzner, 2002. "What are the questions?," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 25(1), pages 51-68, January.
  16. Sheila C. Dow, 2003. "Understanding the relationship between mathematics and economics," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 25(4), pages 547-560, July.
  17. Donald W. Katzner, 2003. "Why mathematics in economics?," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 25(4), pages 561-574, July.
  18. Hart, Oliver D. & Kuhn, Harold W., 1975. "A proof of the existence of equilibrium without the free disposal assumption," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 335-343, December.
  19. Coddington, Alan, 1975. "The Rationale of General Equilibrium Theory," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(4), pages 539-58, December.
  20. Douglas W. Hands, 1984. "The Role of Crucial Counterexamples in the Growth of Economic Knowledge: Two Case Studies in the Recent History of Economic Thought," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 59-67, Spring.
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