Critical realism, empirical methods and inference: A critical discussion

P. Downward, John Howard Finch, J. Ramsey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    56 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper reviews the critical realist critique of the methods of analysis adopted in neoclassical research and argues that there is scope for clearer guidance for economics researchers who wish to pursue empirical research in the critical realist tradition. It is argued that critical realist epistemology, derived from its open-systems ontology, is unnecessarily dismissive in rejecting research methods that draw inferences from stable empirical regularities and patterns. The argument draws upon Keynes's philosophical explanations of decision-making and probability, on behavioural and institutional explanations of emerging and stable institutions, and on inductive research techniques such as grounded theory, to establish a role for a plurality of quantitative and qualitative approaches to critical realist research.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)481-500
    Number of pages19
    JournalCambridge Journal of Economics
    Volume26
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002

    Keywords

    • economic methodology
    • critical realism
    • quantitative and qualitative research
    • emerging institutions
    • Keynesian probability
    • ECONOMIC-ANALYSIS
    • POST KEYNESIANISM
    • GENERAL-THEORY
    • CRITIQUE
    • DAVIDSON,PAUL
    • INSTITUTIONS
    • UNCERTAINTY
    • PERSPECTIVE
    • PREDICTION

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