Journal Article

Economic Modelling as Robustness Analysis

Jaakko Kuorikoski, Aki Lehtinen and Caterina Marchionni

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 61, issue 3, pages 541-567
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online June 2010 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axp049
Economic Modelling as Robustness Analysis

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We claim that the process of theoretical model refinement in economics is best characterised as robustness analysis: the systematic examination of the robustness of modelling results with respect to particular modelling assumptions. We argue that this practise has epistemic value by extending William Wimsatt’s account of robustness analysis as triangulation via independent means of determination. For economists robustness analysis is a crucial methodological strategy because their models are often based on idealisations and abstractions, and it is usually difficult to tell which idealisations are truly harmful.

Introduction

Making Sense of Robustness

Robustness in Economics

The Epistemic Import of Robustness Analysis

An Illustration: Geographical Economics Models

Independence of Derivations

Concluding Remarks

Journal Article.  11322 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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