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From Unrealistic Assumptions to Economic Explanations. Robustness Analysis from a Deductivist Point of View

  • Max Albert


    (University of Gießen)

Sugden (2000) offers an answer to the question of how unrealistic models can be used to explain real-world phenomena: by considering a set of unrealistic models, one may conclude that a result common to these models also holds for a realistic model that, however, is too complex to be analyzed, or even just stated, explicitly. This is a kind of robustness argument. Sugden argues that the argument is inductive and that the methodological strategy is inconsistent with received methodological views. This paper argues that Sugden’s argument is in need of improvement, that the improved version is deductive, and that the methodological strategy, if applied with care, fits well into one of the received views dismissed by Sugden, namely, hypothetico-deductivism, or the the testing view of science.

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Paper provided by Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung) in its series MAGKS Papers on Economics with number 201352.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in
Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:201352
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  1. Albert, Hans & Arnold, Darrell & Maier-Rigaud, Frank, 2012. "Model Platonism: Neoclassical economic thought in critical light," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(03), pages 295-323, September.
  2. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  3. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521415019 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Arnold, Darrell & Maier-Rigaud, Frank P., 2012. "The enduring relevance of the model Platonism critique for economics and public policy," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(03), pages 289-294, September.
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521425230 is not listed on IDEAS
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