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Exploring different visions of the model-empirics nexus: Solow versus Lipsey

Robert Goldfarb () and Jonathan Ratner ()

Journal of Economic Methodology, 2009, vol. 16, issue 2, 159-174

Abstract: Does empirical work in economics both provoke and test theoretical models, or does model development proceed according to a theory-oriented research program, with little interaction with empirics? Robert Solow and Richard Lipsey have articulated different visions of this relationship. This paper: (i) describes these competing Solow versus Lipsey views; (ii) presents examples illustrating each view; and (iii) draws inferences about factors promoting a close relation between empirics and modeling. Three examples are examined in detail: the 'nursing shortage' literature; Lind's analysis of recent rent control models; and a wide-ranging evaluation of 'is there too little theory in development economics?' by leading development economists. Various factors promoting or inhibiting a close connection between modeling and empirics are identified.

Keywords: models; methodology; theory-empirics connection; nursing shortages; rent control; development economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:taf:jecmet:v:16:y:2009:i:2:p:159-174