El problema con las cláusulas ceteris paribus en economía


  • Gustavo Marqués University of Buenos Aires/University of Lomas de Zamora




In social sciences, particularly in economics, ceteris paribus clauses give rise to special methodological problems, which make difficult both to regard its generalizations as genuine laws and to test such laws empirically. Daniel Hausman claims that the problem with ceteris paribus clauses in economics
is that their content is not fully specified. This paper aims to discuss and criticize Hausman’s reconstruction of an economic law and his ideas as to how they could be tested. Particularly, it will be argued that (a) Hausman does not explain how empirical evidence could be used to evaluate economic generalizations qualified by vaguely specified ceteris paribus clauses; (b) his
explanation of the fundamental economic laws is careful and persuasive, but it makes impossible to test them empirically, both in experimental and ordinary economic settings; (c) although Hausman is not concerned with derived economic laws, according to his viewpoint they could, in principle, be tested; unfortunately, however, the tendency to include subjective factors among the clauses’ explicit components makes them also practically nontestable. Finally (d) it will be argued that the real problem with ceteris paribus clauses in economics is to be found in their failure to be well articulated by a social and economic theory