Publication detailsReiss, Julian (2012). The Explanation Paradox. Journal of Economic Methodology 19(1): 43-62.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 1350-178X, 1469-9427
- DOI: 10.1080/1350178X.2012.661069
- Keywords: Models, Explanation, Idealisation.
- Further publication details on publisher web site
Author(s) from Durham
This paper examines mathematical models in economics and observes that three mutually inconsistent hypotheses concerning models and explanation are widely held: (1) economic models are false; (2) economic models are nevertheless explanatory; and (3) only true accounts explain. Commentators have typically resolved the paradox by rejecting either one of these hypotheses. I will argue that none of the proposed resolutions work and conclude that therefore the paradox is genuine and likely to stay.