, Volume 190, Issue 2, pp 321–337

De-idealization by commentary: the case of financial valuation models



Is there a unique way to de-idealize models? If not, how might the possible ways of reducing the distortion between models and reality differ from each other? Based on an empirical case study conducted in financial markets, this paper discusses how a popular valuation model (the Discounted Cash Flow model) idealizes reality and how the market participants de-idealize it in concrete market situations. In contrast to Cartwright’s view that economic models are generally over-constrained, this paper suggests that valuation models are under-constrained. This serves as the reason why the relaxation of simplifying assumptions and concretization do not work as methods of de-idealization. The paper finds that financial market participants de-idealize models using commentary that takes the form of judgment. As a conclusion, a hypothesis is formulated that proposes that the more underdetermined the model is the bigger role narrative and other pragmatic elements play in the process of model application.


Economic models Financial models Idealization Judgment Justification 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Karlshochschule International UniversityKarlsruheGermany

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