Economics and Underdetermination: A Case Study of Urban Land and Housing Economics

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Robert McMaster

Robert McMaster

University of Aberdeen - Business School

Date Written: November 2006

Abstract

Underdetermination, associated with the Duhem-Quine thesis, is a familiar if under-researched theme in economics. In the light of this, we examine the development of urban land and housing economics. Through its Cartesian dualistic delineation of theory and data, the contemporary mainstream approach appears unable to circumvent the problem of underdetermination. In effect, it employs the strong version of Duhem-Quine in its retention of the assumption of a single, unitary competitive market (and associated access-space trade-off). Conversely, we highlight the affinity of Ely's (and the later Columbia School's) approach to pragmatists Dewey and Peirce, which provides a more fruitful basis for explanation.

Keywords: Richard T. Ely, Duhem-Quine Thesis, Underdetermination, New Urban Economics, Theory-data dual

Suggested Citation

McMaster, Robert, Economics and Underdetermination: A Case Study of Urban Land and Housing Economics (November 2006). Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 30, Issue 6, pp. 901-922, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1098595 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cje/bej002

Robert McMaster (Contact Author)

University of Aberdeen - Business School ( email )

Edward Wright Building
Dunbar Street
Old Aberdeen AB24 3QY, Scotland AB24 3QY
United Kingdom

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