IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pra/mprapa/14505.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

On the Problem of Vague Terms: A Glossary of Clearly Stated Assumptions & Careful, Patient, Descriptions

Author

Listed:
  • Funk, Matt

Abstract

Coase 1930 endures through the decades as one of the most-cited papers in economics due to the fact that it highlights a fundamental and equally enduring problem: "Economic theory has suffered in the past from a failure to state clearly its assumptions. Economists in building up a theory have often omitted to examine the foundations on which it was erected. This examination is, however, essential not only to prevent the misunderstanding and needless controversy which arise from a lack of knowledge of the assumptions on which a theory is based, but also because of the extreme importance for economics of good judgement in choosing between rival sets of assumptions." In 1944 Von Neumann and Morgenstern offered the simply, yet invariably rejected solution: "In… economics the most fruitful work may be that of careful, patient description; indeed this may be by far the largest domain for the present and some time to come….Economic problems [have been and are often] not formulated clearly and are often stated in such vague terms as to make mathematical treatment a priori appear hopeless because it is quite uncertain what the problems really are. There is no point in using exact methods where there is no clarity in the concepts and issues to which they are to be applied. Consequently the initial task is to clarify the knowledge of the matter by further careful descriptive work." This paper offers a stone along the path to the solution to this problem by offering a glossary in this spirit, a glossary germain to some of the most fundamental, open problems in economics. As the fate of the human race may lay in the balance to finding solutions to these problems, this glossary may be a steop in the right direction.

Suggested Citation

  • Funk, Matt, 2008. "On the Problem of Vague Terms: A Glossary of Clearly Stated Assumptions & Careful, Patient, Descriptions," MPRA Paper 14505, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:14505
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/14505/1/MPRA_paper_14505.pdf
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
    2. Winkler, Ralph, 2009. "Now or Never: Environmental Protection under Hyperbolic Discounting," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 3, pages 1-22.
    3. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, "undated". "Third Party Punishment and Social Norms," IEW - Working Papers 106, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    4. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    5. Robert J. Aumann, 2007. "War and Peace," Chapters,in: Augustin Cournot: Modelling Economics, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Bimonte, Salvatore, 2008. "The "tragedy of tourism resources" as the outcome of a strategic game: A new analytical framework," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 457-464, October.
    7. Nash, John, 1953. "Two-Person Cooperative Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 21(1), pages 128-140, April.
    8. repec:eee:thpobi:v:74:y:2008:i:1:p:84-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Thomas C. Schelling, 2006. "An Astonishing Sixty Years: The Legacy of Hiroshima," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 929-937.
    10. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2004. "Social norms and human cooperation," Macroeconomics 0409026, EconWPA.
    11. Vernon L. Smith, 2003. "Constructivist and Ecological Rationality in Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 465-508, June.
    12. Baumgartner, Stefan & Becker, Christian & Faber, Malte & Manstetten, Reiner, 2006. "Relative and absolute scarcity of nature. Assessing the roles of economics and ecology for biodiversity conservation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 487-498, October.
    13. Peter H. Pearse, 1988. "Property Rights and the Development of Natural Resource Policies in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 14(3), pages 307-320, September.
    14. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-654, May-June.
    15. Scott Beaulier & Bryan Caplan, 2007. "Behavioral Economics and Perverse Effects of the Welfare State," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 485-507, November.
    16. Amir, Shmuel, 1994. "The role of thermodynamics in the study of economic and ecological systems," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 125-142, July.
    17. H. Scott Gordon, 1954. "The Economic Theory of a Common-Property Resource: The Fishery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 124-124.
    18. Funk, Matt, 2008. "On the Problem of Sustainable Economic Development: A Theoretical Solution to this Prisoner's Dilemma," MPRA Paper 19025, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 08 Jun 2008.
    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. Funk, Matt, 2009. "On the Truly Noncooperative Game of Island Life II: Evolutionary Stable Economic Development Strategy in Brief," MPRA Paper 16771, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic terms; methodology; scientific method; coase 1930; Von Neumann & Morgenstern 1944; definitions; careful; patient descriptions;

    JEL classification:

    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:pra:mprapa:14505. 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: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.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.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.