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 7: Debating the foundations: a new perspective?

Edward J. Nell and Karim Errouaki

Subjects: economics and finance, econometrics


Klein takes a strong stand in the debate on the foundations of econometrics, and offers a constructive response to the problems of the Cowles model, placing himself at the opposite end of the spectrum from the rejection advocated by the angry new generation of econometricians. In addition, Klein (1957; 1979; 1982) argued that building institutional reality into a priori formulations of economic relationships (through fieldwork) and refining basic data collection have contributed much more to the improvement of empirical econometric results than have more elaborate methods of statistical inference. Furthermore, Ray Fair (1994, preface) argued that his research is ‘a rallying cry for the Cowles Commission approach’. Indeed, Fernandez-Villaverde (2008, p. 691) observed that ‘Fair is to be applauded for his position: first, and foremost, because there is much of value in the Cowles Commission framework that is at risk of being forgotten.

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