, Volume 30, Issue 1–2, pp 43–68 | Cite as

Are generic predictions enough?

  • Alexander Rosenberg

Summary and conclusions

I have argued not that economics has no predictive content, but that it is limited, or at least has so far been limited to generic predictions. Now this is an important kind of prediction, and almost certainly a necessary preliminary to specific or quantitative predictions. But if the sketch of an important episode in the twentieth century history of the subject I have given is both correct and representative, then economics seems pretty well stuck at the level of generic prediction. And at least some influential economists and philosophers of economics seem well satisfied with stopping at the point of generic prediction. Or at least they give no other reason than its power to produce such predictions as a justification for the character of economic theory. But this leads to the question that is the title of my paper, is generic prediction enough?


Twentieth Century Economic Theory Generic Prediction Quantitative Prediction Important Kind 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Blaug, M.: 1978, Economic Theory in Retrospect, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  2. Friedman, M.: 1953, Essays in Positive Economics, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  3. Gibbard, A., and H. Varian: 1978, ‘Economic Models’, Journal of Philosophy 75, 664–77.Google Scholar
  4. Hicks, J.: 1939, Value and Capital, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  5. Leontief, W.: 1951, ‘Input-Output Economics’, Scientific American 185, 15–21.Google Scholar
  6. Leontief, W.: 1982, ‘Academic Economics’, Science 9, p. 2.Google Scholar
  7. Leontief, W.: 1985, Essays in Economics, Transaction Books, New Brunswick.Google Scholar
  8. Lucas, R. E.: 1977, ‘Understanding Business Cycles’, in K. Brunner and A. Meltzer (eds.), Stabilization of the Domestic and International Economy, North-Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  9. Lucas, R. E., 1978, ‘Unemployment Policy’, American Economic Review 68, 353–7.Google Scholar
  10. Muth, J.: 1961, ‘Rational Expectations and the Theory of Price Movements’, Econometrica 29, 315–35.Google Scholar
  11. Rosenberg, A.: 1976, Microeconomic Laws: A Philosophical Analysis, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh.Google Scholar
  12. Samuelson, P.: 1947, Foundations of Economic Analysis, MIT Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  13. Tobin, J.: 1977, ‘How Dead is Keynes?’, Economic Inquiry 15, 459–68.Google Scholar
  14. Wicksteed, P. H.: 1910, The Common Sense of Political Economy, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Rosenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

Personalised recommendations