Addressing the malaise in neoclassical economics: a call for partial models

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Economics is currently experiencing a climate of uncertainty regarding the soundness of its theoretical framework and even its status as a science. Much of the criticism is within the discipline, and emphasizes the alleged failure of the neoclassical viewpoint. This article proposes the deployment of partial modeling, utilizing Boolean networks (BNs), as an inductive discovery procedure for the development of economic theory. The method is presented in detail and then linked to the Semantic View of Theories (SVT), closely identified with Bas van Fraassen and Patrick Suppes, in which models are construed as mediators creatively negotiating between theory and reality. It is suggested that this approach may be appropriate for economics and, by implication, for any science in which there is no consensus theory, and a wide range of viewpoints compete for acceptance.

Posted for comments on 21 Feb 2018, 12:09 pm.

Comments (2)

  • Herbert says:

    Ron, if you are still interested in this topic, look what I found about macroeconomics, author Sharov

  • Ron Wallace says:

    I appreciate Herbert’s suggestion that I take a look at Alexander Shavrov’s article in the Journal of Economics and Development Studies. The article emphasizes a systems-theory approach, but is confusingly written, and could have benefited from a strong editorial hand. On the positive side, it is possible that Shavrov’s model, emphasizing labor, activities, and resources, may indeed be valuable. This example thus serves to reinforce my view that a computational approach which synthesizes competing models is much needed in economics during this time of scientific uncertainty.

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