[OPE-L:6218] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: econometrics

From: Patrick L. Mason (pmason@garnet.acns.fsu.edu)
Date: Mon Nov 26 2001 - 11:23:06 EST


There's always an "accepted" theory. There are many groupings of Marxists. 
Each group should provide some sort of quantitative work that illustrates 
the relative importance of its theoretical relationships. All statistics 
represent the last stage of development of a theory. If there are i = 1, 
..., N Marxists sub-groups, then each sub-group should subject its own 
theoretical propositions to the fire of empirical analysis. This hasn't 
happened and it has had a deeply negative impact on the development of 
Marxian economics.

There are more than enough Marxian economists do exceptional quantitative 
work. The desired statistical work has not been forthcoming because Marxian 
economists are  often uninterested in doing the work. One of my great 
frustrations as a journal referee was reading the 1,000,000,000th paper on 
the transformation problem that contained zero empirical work. Typically, 
authors would reply that the paper was "concerned with a theoretical 
issue," not an empirical issue. After 1 billion papers on the 
transformation problem I think it is perfectly reasonable to request that 
authors demonstrate empirical relevance.

At 09:30 AM 11/21/01 -0500, you wrote:
>Re Patrick's [6212]:
> > Given an accepted theory, we can then use econometrics (with all of its
> > imperfections and artistic subjectivities), simulations, experimental
> > data, natural experiments, calibrations, input-output analysis, etc. to
> > assess the strength of relationships implied by the accepted theory.
>What happens if there is no 'accepted theory'?  One would be hard pressed,
>for instance, to state the 'accepted Marxian theory' on <whatever>.
> > Rarely, will
> > any one study be sufficient to decide theoretical debates, but the hope is
> > that a collection of studies employing different approaches and
> > assumptions will be sufficient to provide the desired level of
> > insight.
>Unless there is a 'sufficiently large' collection of studies on the same
>issues, then  your 'hope' will not likely be actualized.  Here a practical
>matter enters into the picture: there aren't a whole lot of Marxist
>economists internationally and a significant percentage of them aren't
>engaged in econometric studies.  I'm not sure that we have the
>collective resources to get around this problem *even if* we could
>come to an agreement about the propositions which we would like
>to see empirically tested.
>Also on a practical level, given the above, for those Marxists who
>do think that econometric studies should be undertaken,  a
>preliminary step might be for those Marxians to fist itemize
>(i.e. list) those topics where there is a need for econometric
>studies on. That would seem to me to be at least an initial
>step in the direction of producing the 'collection of studies' that
>you hope for.
>In solidarity, Jerry

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