Science — a messy business

6 Nov, 2021 at 14:24 | Posted in Statistics & Econometrics | Comments Off on Science — a messy business

Economics and Reality (Economics as Social Theory): Lawson,  Tony: 9780415154208: BooksThe obvious response of course, albeit one that econometricians occupied with fitting a line to given sets of data rarely contemplate, is to add to the ‘available data.’ Specifically the aim must be to draw consequences for, and seek out observations on, actual phenomena which allow the causal factor responsible to be identified. If, for example, bird droppings is a relevant causal factor then we could expect higher yields wherever birds roost. Perhaps there is a telegraph wire that crosses the field which is heavily populated by roosting birds, but which provides only negligible shade … Perhaps too there is a plot of land somewhere close to the farm house which is shaded by a protruding iron roof, but which birds avoid because of a patrolling cat … The fact that it is not possible to state categorically at this abstract level the precise conditions under which substantive theories can be selected amongst, i.e. without knowing the contents of the theories themselves or the nature or context of the conditions upon which they bear, is an unfortunate fact of all science. Science is a messy business. It requires an abundance of ingenuity, as well as patience, along with skills that may need to be developed on the job.

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