Economists, Incentives, Judgment, and Empirical Work

14 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2010

See all articles by David Colander

David Colander

Middlebury College - Department of Economics

Date Written: 2008


This paper asks the question: Why has the "general-to-specific" cointegrated VAR approach as developed in Europe had only limited success in the US as a tool for doing empirical macroeconomics, where what might be called a theory comes first' approach dominates? The reason this paper highlights is the incompatibility of the European approach with the US focus on the journal publication metric for advancement. Specifically, the European "general-to specific" cointegrated VAR approach requires researcher judgment to be part of the analysis, and the US focus on a journal publication metric discourages such research methods. The US "theory comes firs"' approach fits much better with the journal publication metric.

Keywords: Incentives, empirical work, econometrics, methodology, cointegration, VAR

JEL Classification: B4

Suggested Citation

Colander, David, Economists, Incentives, Judgment, and Empirical Work (2008). Economics Discussion Paper No. 2008-12, Available at SSRN: or

David Colander (Contact Author)

Middlebury College - Department of Economics ( email )

Munroe Hall
Middlebury, VT 05753
United States
802-443-5302 (Phone)

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