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Economic Theories and Their Dueling Interpretations

Itzhak Gilboa (), Andrew Postlewaite (), Larry Samuelsonl () and David Schmeidler
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Larry Samuelsonl: Yale University

PIER Working Paper Archive from Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: The interpretation of economic theories varies along several dimensions. First, theories can describe reality, illustrate a recommended state of affairs, or analyze the logical consistency of a possible world. Second, theories can be used for prediction or for explanation. Third, theories can relate to reality in a rule-based or case-based manner. Fourth, theories can be statements about economic reality or about the act of economic reasoning itself. Fifth, theories can offer predictions or merely critique reasoning. We argue that theories are often open to multiple interpretations which can shift depending on the context in which the theory is applied, the surrounding economic literature, and the argument made by the interpreter.

JEL-codes: B4 D0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 31 pages
Date: 2022-03-19
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