A Dynamic Approach to Economic Theory
The Yale Lectures of Ragnar Frisch, 1930
Edited by Olav Bjerkholt, Duo Qin
Routledge – 2011 – 208 pages
This book contains a set of notes prepared by Ragnar Frisch for a lecture series that he delivered at Yale University in 1930. The lecture notes provide not only a valuable source document for the history of econometrics, but also a more systematic introduction to some of Frisch’s key methodological ideas than his other works so far published in various media for the econometrics community. In particular, these notes contain a number of prescient ideas precursory to some of the most important notions developed in econometrics during the 1970s and 1980s
More remarkably, Frisch demonstrated a deep understanding of what econometric or statistical analysis could achieve under the situation where there lacked known correct theoretical models. This volume has been rigorously edited and comes with an introductory essay from Olav Bjerkholt and Duo Qin placing the notes in their historical context.
'[These] Yale lectures help us to understand how the connection between mathematical reasoning and economics evolved in the formative period between the two world wars. Furthermore, these lectures reveal the profound intellectual debt Samuelson owes to the Norwegian economist. This debt is apprant not only in the area of the origins of dynamic analysis, where the connection is direct, but also in the general concept of economics as an empirical science and not simply a hypothetical-deductive paradigm.' -Mario Pomini, University of Padua, History of Economic Thought and Policy/2-2012
'The ingenuity visible in his view of traditional economic problems and the manifest creativity of his mind intrigue the contemporary reader today as they probably intrigued his audience in Paris eighty years ago.' - Ivan Moscati, University of Insubria
I. General Consideration on Statistics and Dynamics in Economics, 1. What is economic theory?, 2. A discussion of the fundamental distinction between a static and a dynamic economic theory, 3. The static and the dynamic conception of an equilibrium, 4. Structural, confluent and fictitious relations in economic theory, II. Dynamic Formulation of Some Parts of Economic Theory, 5. A dynamic analysis of marginal utility, 6. A dynamic formulation of the law of demand, 7. A simple case of steered oscillations. The reaction problem, 8. A simple case of initiated oscillations, 9. Dynamic analysis of a closed economic system, III. Statistical Verification of the Laws of Dynamic Economic Theory, 10. Types of clustering in scatter diagrams and the non-significance of partial correlations, 11. General principles regarding the possibility of determining structural relations from empirical observations, 12. The separation of short-time and long-time components in an empirical time series, 13. The phase diagram. Phase elasticities and structural elasticities. The comparison problem in time series components, 14. Critical remarks on some of the recent attempts at statistical determination of demand and supply curves, 15. A new theory of linear regression. The diagonal and the arithmetic mean regression. The invariance problem, 16. A statistical analysis of selected groups of data by the methods developed in the present course
Olav Bjerkholt is Professor of Economics at the University of Oslo. Duo Qin is Senior Lecturer in Economics at Queen Mary, University of London.