IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nig/wpaper/0080.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Unreasonable Ineffectiveness of Mathematics in Economics

Author

Listed:
  • K. Vela Velupillai

    (Department of Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway)

Abstract

In this paper I attempt to show that mathematical economics is unreasonably ineffective. Unreasonable, because the mathematical assumptions are economically unwarranted; ineffective because the mathematical formalizations imply nonconstructive and uncomputable structures. A reasonable and effective mathematization of economics entails Diophantine formalisms. These come with natural undecidabilities and uncomputabilites. In the face of this, I conjecture that an economics for the future will be freer to explore experimental methodologies underpinned by alternative mathematical structures. The whole discussion is framed within the context of the celebrated Wignerian theme: The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences.

Suggested Citation

  • K. Vela Velupillai, 2004. "The Unreasonable Ineffectiveness of Mathematics in Economics," Working Papers 0080, National University of Ireland Galway, Department of Economics, revised 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:nig:wpaper:0080
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.economics.nuig.ie/resrch/paper.php?pid=85
    File Function: First version, 2004
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.economics.nuig.ie/resrch/paper.php?pid=85
    File Function: Revised version, 2004
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mirman, Leonard J, 1971. "Uncertainty and Optimal Consumption Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(1), pages 179-185, January.
    2. Dotsey, Michael & Sarte, Pierre Daniel, 2000. "Inflation uncertainty and growth in a cash-in-advance economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 631-655, June.
    3. Huizinga, John, 1993. "Inflation Uncertainty, Relative Price Uncertainty, and Investment in U.S. Manufacturing," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(3), pages 521-549, August.
    4. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
    5. Ólan T. Henry & Nilss Olekalns, 2002. "The Effect of Recessions on the Relationship between Output Variability and Growth," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(3), pages 683-692, January.
    6. Alex Cukierman & Stefan Gerlach, 2003. "The inflation bias revisited: theory and some international evidence," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 71(5), pages 541-565, September.
    7. Devereux, Michael, 1989. "A Positive Theory of Inflation and Inflation Variance," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(1), pages 105-116, January.
    8. Speight, Alan E H, 1999. "UK Output Variability and Growth: Some Further Evidence," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 46(2), pages 175-184, May.
    9. Kevin B. Grier & Ólan T. Henry & Nilss Olekalns & Kalvinder Shields, 2004. "The asymmetric effects of uncertainty on inflation and output growth," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(5), pages 551-565.
    10. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Theory of Ambiguity, Credibility, and Inflation under Discretion and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1099-1128, September.
    11. Blackburn, Keith & Pelloni, Alessandra, 2004. "On the relationship between growth and volatility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 123-127, April.
    12. Ball, Laurence, 1992. "Why does high inflation raise inflation uncertainty?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 371-388, June.
    13. S. Fountas & A. Ioannidis & M. Karanasos, 2004. "Inflation, Inflation Uncertainty and a Common European Monetary Policy," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 72(2), pages 221-242, March.
    14. Stilianos Fountas & Menelaos Karanasos & Alfonso Mendoza, 2004. "Output Variability and Economic Growth: the Japanese Case," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(4), pages 353-363, October.
    15. Pindyck, Robert S, 1991. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 1110-1148, September.
    16. Ernst R. Berndt & Bronwyn H. Hall & Robert E. Hall & Jerry A. Hausman, 1974. "Estimation and Inference in Nonlinear Structural Models," NBER Chapters,in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 3, number 4, pages 653-665 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Fountas, Stilianos, 2001. "The relationship between inflation and inflation uncertainty in the UK: 1885-1998," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 77-83, December.
    18. Friedman, Milton, 1977. "Nobel Lecture: Inflation and Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 451-472, June.
    19. Glosten, Lawrence R & Jagannathan, Ravi & Runkle, David E, 1993. " On the Relation between the Expected Value and the Volatility of the Nominal Excess Return on Stocks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1779-1801, December.
    20. Davis, George K & Kanago, Bryce E, 2000. "The Level and Uncertainty of Inflation: Results from OECD Forecasts," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(1), pages 58-72, January.
    21. A. Sandmo, 1970. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Saving Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 353-360.
    22. Fountas, Stilianos & Karanasos, Menelaos & Kim, Jinki, 2002. "Inflation and output growth uncertainty and their relationship with inflation and output growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 293-301, May.
    23. Grier, Kevin B. & Perry, Mark J., 1998. "On inflation and inflation uncertainty in the G7 countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 671-689, August.
    24. Holland, A Steven, 1995. "Inflation and Uncertainty: Tests for Temporal Ordering," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(3), pages 827-837, August.
    25. Pourgerami, Abbas & Maskus, Keith E., 1987. "The effects of inflation on the predictability of price changes in Latin America: Some estimates and policy implications," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 287-290, February.
    26. Blackburn, Keith, 1999. "Can Stabilisation Policy Reduce Long-Run Growth?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(452), pages 67-77, January.
    27. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", pages 125-132.
    28. Conrad, C. & Karanasos, M., 2005. "On the inflation-uncertainty hypothesis in the USA, Japan and the UK: a dual long memory approach," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 327-343, August.
    29. Caporale, Tony & McKiernan, Barbara, 1996. "The Relationship between Output Variability and Growth: Evidence from Post War UK Data," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 43(2), pages 229-236, May.
    30. Coulson, N. Edward & Robins, Russell P., 1985. "Aggregate economic activity and the variance of inflation : Another look," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 71-75.
    31. Conrad Christian & Karanasos Menelaos, 2005. "Dual Long Memory in Inflation Dynamics across Countries of the Euro Area and the Link between Inflation Uncertainty and Macroeconomic Performance," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(4), pages 1-38, December.
    32. John Huizinga, 1993. "Inflation uncertainty, relative price uncertainty, and investment in U.S. manufacturing," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 521-557.
    33. Stilianos Fountas & Menelaos Karanasos & Jinki Kim, 2006. "Inflation Uncertainty, Output Growth Uncertainty and Macroeconomic Performance," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 68(3), pages 319-343, June.
    34. Kneller, Richard & Young, Garry, 2001. "Business Cycle Volatility, Uncertainty and Long-Run Growth," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 69(5), pages 534-552, Special I.
    35. Vilasuso, Jon, 2001. "Causality tests and conditional heteroskedasticity: : Monte Carlo evidence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 25-35, March.
    36. Holland, A Steven, 1993. "Uncertain Effects of Money and the Link between the Inflation Rate and Inflation Uncertainty," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(1), pages 39-51, January.
    37. Dennis W. Jansen, 1989. "Does inflation uncertainty affect output growth? Further evidence," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 43-54.
    38. Demetriades, Panikos, 1988. "Macroeconomic aspects of the correlation between the level and variability of inflation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 121-124.
    39. Kevin B. Grier & Mark J. Perry, 2000. "The effects of real and nominal uncertainty on inflation and output growth: some garch-m evidence," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 45-58.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Guglielmo Chiodi, 2012. "On Richard Goodwin’s Elementary Economics from the Higher Standpoint," ASSRU Discussion Papers 1219, ASSRU - Algorithmic Social Science Research Unit.
    2. Dusek, Tamás, 2012. "A Debreu-féle neowalrasi általános egyensúlyelmélet antiempirista axiomatizmusa
      [The anti-empirical axiomatism of neo-Walrasian general equilibrium theory]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(9), pages 988-1004.
    3. Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont, 2012. "The rhetoric of failure: a hyper-dialog about method in economics and how to get things going," MPRA Paper 43276, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Lukáš Kovanda, 2010. "Kritický realismus: ontologická báze postkeynesovské ekonomie
      [Critical Realism as an Ontological Basis of Post-Keynesianism]
      ," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2010(5), pages 608-622.
    5. K. Vela Velupillai, 2012. "The Relevance of Computation Irreducibility as Computation Universality in Economics," ASSRU Discussion Papers 1212, ASSRU - Algorithmic Social Science Research Unit.
    6. C. P. Kwong, 2009. "Mathematical analysis of Soros's theory of reflexivity," Papers 0901.4447, arXiv.org.
    7. Bartholo, R.S. & Cosenza, C.A.N. & Doria, F.A. & de Lessa, C.T.R., 2009. "Can economic systems be seen as computing devices?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 72-80, May.
    8. Lauwers, Luc, 2010. "Ordering infinite utility streams comes at the cost of a non-Ramsey set," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 32-37, January.
    9. K. Vela Velupillai, "undated". "Remembering Krishna Bharadwaj," ASSRU Discussion Papers 1209, ASSRU - Algorithmic Social Science Research Unit.
    10. Lukáš Kovanda, 2011. "Ekonomie budoucnosti: čtyři možné scénáře
      [The Future of Economics: Four Possible Scenarios]
      ," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2011(6), pages 743-758.
    11. K. Vela Velupillai, 2008. "Uncomputability and Undecidability in Economic Theory," Department of Economics Working Papers 0806, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    12. Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont, 2011. "Primary and secondary markets," MPRA Paper 32996, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. K. Vela Velupillai, 2007. "Variations on the Theme of Conning in Mathematical Economics," Department of Economics Working Papers 0703, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    General Equilibrium Theory; Computable General Equilibrium; Computable Economics; Constructive Mathematics; Mathematical Economics.;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • C62 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Existence and Stability Conditions of Equilibrium
    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nig:wpaper:0080. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Srinivas Raghavendra). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/deucgie.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.