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Functional explanation in economics: A qualified defence

Jackson, W.A. (2002) Functional explanation in economics: A qualified defence. Journal of Economic Methodology, 9 (2). pp. 169-189. ISSN 1350-178X

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Economists seldom make explicit use of functional explanation, although they sometimes use it implicitly. Functional theorizing has lost favour among social scientists in recent years, and few are now willing to adopt functional language. This paper argues that, despite some drawbacks, explicit functional methods have several attractive features, including a pluralistic attitude to causality, an awareness of stratification and emergence, and a compatibility with a realist perspective. Functional methods on their own cannot provide full causal explanations, but they can raise important theoretical issues often neglected in mainstream economics.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Economics and Related Studies (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 07 May 2009 13:40
Last Modified: 07 May 2009 13:40
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13501780110078981
Status: Published
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Identification Number: 10.1080/13501780110078981
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6508

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