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Economic Explanation, Ordinality and the Adequacy of Analytic Specification


  • Donald W. Katzner

    () (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • Peter Skott



This paper examines the implicit links between models containing ordinal variables and their underlying unquantified counterparts that are necessary to make the former viable theoretical constructions. It is argued that when the underlying unquantified structure is unknown, the permissible transformations of scale applicable to the ordinal variables have to be restricted beyond that which is permitted by dint of the ordinality itself. The possibility of an underlying structure being known but unspecified is also considered. In the case of the efficiency wage model, the only usable transformations of the ordinal effort scale are those which are multiples of each other.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald W. Katzner & Peter Skott, 2004. "Economic Explanation, Ordinality and the Adequacy of Analytic Specification," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2004-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2004-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joshua Aizenman & Menzie D. Chinn & Hiro Ito, 2008. "Assessing the Emerging Global Financial Architecture: Measuring the Trilemma's Configurations over Time," NBER Working Papers 14533, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Skott & Frederick Guy, 2007. "Power, productivity and profits," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2007-02, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    2. Peter Skott & Frederick Guy, 2005. "Power-Biased Technological Change and the Rise in Earnings Inequality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2005-17, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.

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    Ordinal variable; unquantified variable; effort; efficiency wage theory;

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