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Models and theories

Axel Leijonhufvud

Journal of Economic Methodology, 1997, vol. 4, issue 2, 193-198

Abstract: Economic theories are systems of beliefs about the world. Models formalize parts or aspects of theories but leave much of their content out. An example of a component of theories not contained in models are the instructions for how to proceed when a model fails (in Lakatos' terms the 'positive heuristic'). Mathematization gives precision of statement but not of empirical reference. The emphasis on explicit models as the main vehicle for journal communication among economists is questioned. The tendency for top talent to cluster in a few universities is much stronger in economics than in most other fields. The reason is the need to talk and listen and not just write and read.

Keywords: Model; theory; formalism; metaphors (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1997
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DOI: 10.1080/13501789700000014

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