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Abducting Economics

James Heckman and Burton Singer

American Economic Review, 2017, vol. 107, issue 5, 298-302

Abstract: Abduction is the process of generating and choosing models, hypotheses, and data analyzed in response to surprising findings. All good empirical economists abduct. Explanations usually evolve as studies evolve. The abductive approach challenges economists to step outside the framework of received notions about the "identification problem" that rigidly separates the act of model and hypothesis creation from the act of inference from data. It asks the analyst to engage models and data in an iterative dynamic process, using multiple models and sources of data in a back and forth where both models and data are augmented as learning evolves.

JEL-codes: A11 A14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20171118
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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:298-302