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‘Growth in a Time of Debt’ as an example of the logical-positivist science

Mariusz Maziarz ()
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Mariusz Maziarz: Wroclaw University of Economics (Wroclaw, Poland)

The Journal of Philosophical Economics, 2017, vol. 10, issue 2, 47-64

Abstract: The paper addresses the question whether the nowinfamous piece of econometric research conducted by Reinhart and Rogoff (2010) that set the threshold hypothesis in the relation between public debt and economic growth was conducted in accordance with the neopositivist doctrine. The article consists of two parts. First, the epistemic advice given by logical positivism is reconstructed and operationalized. Second, the cliometric method employed by Reinhart and Rogoff (2010) is analyzed. The answer to the research question is affirmative. ‘Growth in a Time of Debt’ is a piece of logical-positivist science because (1) the research is data-based and aimed at confirming the results, (2) its authors are committed to the neopositivist theory-observation distinction, (3) its goal is describing an empirical generalization and the result’s interpretations suggest that (4) Reinhart and Rogoff (2010) understand causality in a reductionist way, as a constant conjunction.

Keywords: Reinhart-Rogoff; logical positivism; methodology; causality; economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B4 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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