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As you may recall, my resolution this year was to finish one book per month and write about it. Well, I finished a book this month. It is a bit of a cheat because it is a short book, and I read it this afternoon. Marshall's Tendencies: What Can Economists Know? by John Sutton, is the book, a short monograph on some common fallacies in macroeconomic modeling. A few notes:

Notes )

Other progress: I am still in the middle of several texts, reading in parallel instead of series, I guess.

Scientific Method in Practice: Still on Chapter 5 (deductive logic). Chapter 6 is "Probability": I think I can probably skip/skim that one being as I've got plenty of experience with probability.

Experimental Design: I've read chapters I-III of R.A. Fisher's Design of Experiments, and a related article: "Misunderstandings between experimentalists and observationalists about causal inference". Imai et al. JRSSA, 2008, vol 171 part 2, pp 481--502. I'm going to have to extend my borrowing time on this book. It's pretty neat to read the words from the horse's mouth, as it were. The lady tasting tea. Darwin's plants. "Student's" t-test. It's quite enlightening to think of the simpler aspects of randomization and the implications of model-based statistical theory on experimental design. On the other hand, the JRSSA article goes into more depth and is providing some good context for the modern repercussions of the book's history lesson.

Incidentally, I learned from Gauch's book that Aristotle originally applied the term "Scientia" to those conclusions that were absolutely provable through uncontested assumptions and logical deduction alone. But this has to be relaxed in the face of the inobservability of truth from the real world without iterations and induction. From reading more about experiments/fixed effects/randomization etc. I see the links between the frequentist "fixed effect" paradigm and this standard of truth. The above books/articles (especially the JRSSA one) are helping me understand that point of view, even if I don't quite believe it yet ;)


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October 2017

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