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Falsifiability

Author

Listed:
  • Alvaro Sandroni

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Wojciech Olszewski

    () (Department of Economics, Northwestern University)

Abstract

We examine the fundamental concept of Popper’s falsifiability within an economic model in which a tester hires a potential expert to produce a theory. Payments are made contingent on the performance of the theory vis-a-vis future realizations of the data. We show that if experts are strategic, then falsifiability has no power to distinguish legitimate scientific theories from worthless theories. We also show that even if experts are strategic there are alternative criteria that can distinguish legitimate from worthless theories.

Suggested Citation

  • Alvaro Sandroni & Wojciech Olszewski, 2008. "Falsifiability," PIER Working Paper Archive 08-016, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:08-016
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    File URL: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/working-papers/08-016.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nabil I. Al-Najjar & Jonathan Weinstein, 2008. "Comparative Testing of Experts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 541-559, May.
    2. LeRoy, Stephen F & Singell, Larry D, Jr, 1987. "Knight on Risk and Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 394-406, April.
    3. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K., 1999. "An Easier Way to Calibrate," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 131-137, October.
    4. Kalai, Ehud & Lehrer, Ehud & Smorodinsky, Rann, 1999. "Calibrated Forecasting and Merging," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 151-169, October.
    5. Wojciech Olszewski & Alvaro Sandroni, 2008. "Manipulability of Future-Independent Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1437-1466, November.
    6. Hart, Sergiu & Mas-Colell, Andreu, 2001. "A General Class of Adaptive Strategies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 26-54, May.
    7. Ehud Lehrer & Eilon Solan, 2003. "No-Regret with Bounded Computational Capacity," Discussion Papers 1373, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    8. Alvaro Sandroni, 2003. "The reproducible properties of correct forecasts," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 32(1), pages 151-159, December.
    9. Rustichini, Aldo, 1999. "Minimizing Regret: The General Case," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 224-243, October.
    10. Eddie Dekel & Yossi Feinberg, 2006. "Non-Bayesian Testing of a Stochastic Prediction," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(4), pages 893-906.
    11. Carvajal, Andres & Ray, Indrajit & Snyder, Susan, 2004. "Equilibrium behavior in markets and games: testable restrictions and identification," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1-2), pages 1-40, February.
    12. Vladimir Vovk & Glenn Shafer, 2005. "Good randomized sequential probability forecasting is always possible," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 67(5), pages 747-763.
    13. Sandroni, Alvaro & Olszewski, Wojciech, 2007. "Contracts and uncertainty," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(1), pages 1-13, March.
    14. Yossi Feinberg & Colin Stewart, 2008. "Testing Multiple Forecasters," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 561-582, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wojciech Olszewski & Alvaro Sandroni, 2006. "Strategic Manipulation of Empirical Tests," Discussion Papers 1425, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    2. Wojciech Olszewski & Alvaro Sandroni, 2008. "Manipulability of Future-Independent Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1437-1466, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Testing Strategic Experts;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General

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