[OPE-L:3569] Re: Research Projects

John Ernst (ernst@usa.pipeline.com)
Thu, 31 Oct 1996 10:30:28 -0800 (PST)

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Jerry Levy begins OPE-L3567 by citing Paul,

Paul C concluded [OPE-L:3566] with:

> It is testimony to the imaturity of Marxian economic research that such
> a body of reproducible results has only started to be built up in the
> last 30 years or so. I am much encouraged however by the scrupulous care
> and high standards of empirical work in the new generation of
> researchers trained at places like the New School who will, I am sure,
> provide us with a much broader and deeper collection of empirical
> evidence.

Jerry then writes:

I address the following comments to all those who are either doing
empirical research now or plan to be doing that research in the future:

-- a crucial initial step in the development of any research project
(theoretical or empirical) is the *specification* of the significance
(political, historical, analytical) of the subject to be investigated.
With that in mind, I ask the following question:

-- what are the specific areas of empirical research that listmembers
believe *need* to be investigated?

John responds:

I confess that I am not planning any empirical research project.
Yet, Jerry's question is so good I can't resist. Let me start
with 2.

1. On this list, we have spoken of changes in the constant capital
to output ratio as new techniques are introduced. I would like to
see data generated from which this ratio could be computed on an
industry by industry basis. Here I would use simultaneous pricing
of inputs and outputs in each year. If possible, such a study should
be done for more than one developed capitalist economy.

2. This one is not as clear. I think we need data that shows
the average of the machinery used in each industry (sector).
We could weight the ages of the machinery used by its initital cost
measured in constant dollars (or whatever). This would give us
an idea of how fast or slow the accumulation of capital is taking


So that's my wish list for now. Perhaps, it shows but let me be
clear -- I do not do this kind of work. I am curious, however,
about the costs of doing such work as I do have a role in obtaining
SMALL grants for people.