Are economic models falsifiable?

The sharp distinction between falsifiable economic models and those that are not is by no means a universally accepted one. Indeed one can argue that the ceteris paribus (all else being equal) qualification that accompanies any claim in economics is nothing more than an all-purpose escape clause (See N. de Marchi and M. Blaug.) The all else being equal claim allows holding all variables constant except the few that the model is attempting to reason about. This allows the separation and clarification of the specific relationship. However, in reality all else is never equal, so economic models are guaranteed to not be perfect. The goal of the model is that the isolated and simplified relationship has some predictive power that can be tested, mainly that it is a theory capable of being applied to reality. To qualify as a theory, a model should arguably answer three questions: Theory of what?, Why should we care?, What merit is in your explanation? If the model fails to do so, it is probably too detached from reality and meaningful societal issues to qualify as theory. Research conducted according to this three-question test finds that in the 2004 edition of the Journal of Economic Theory, only 12% of the articles satisfy the three requirements.” Ignoring the fact that the ceteris paribus assumption is being made is another big failure often made when a model is applied. At the minimum an attempt must be made to look at the various factors that may not be equal and take those into account.

Source : wikipedia ( )


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