Rational Econometric Man

Rational Econometric Man

Transforming Structural Econometrics

Edward J. Nell and Karim Errouaki

This challenging and original book takes a fresh, innovative look at econometrics, and re-examines the scientific standing of structural econometrics as developed by the founders (Frisch and Tinbergen) and extended by Haavelmo and the Cowles modellers (particularly Klein) during the period 1930–1960.

Chapter 2: Haavelmo reconsidered as rational econometric man

Edward J. Nell and Karim Errouaki

Subjects: economics and finance, econometrics


We argued in Chapter 1 that there are good reasons for considering Hollis and Nell’s (1975) framework as a foundation for reconstructing structural econometrics, a foundation that complements and extends the original ideas of Haavelmo. Haavelmo’s (1944) work is probably the most important landmark in the history of econometric modelling. It is a remarkable monograph which, unfortunately for econometrics, became a classic much too early, part of the reason it is misunderstood. But our argument will show in detail that Hollis and Nell’s (1975) approach complements Haavelmo’s (1944) methodological framework. Then, more speculatively, we shall suggest that their work actually extends the methodology in ways that help to meet some of the widely prevalent objections to structural econometrics. We should point out that Haavelmo (1958) seems to have been the germ of our argument. Let’s recall here that Haavelmo has argued that weak theoretical neoclassical economic foundations rendered suspect the policy value of most econometric models.

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