General developments

We had a total of 11 measurement group meetings in 2000-01, three in summer term 2000 and four in the Michaelmas 2000 and Lent 2001 terms.

The summer term began with a talk by the two eminent speakers Deborah Mayo and Aris Spanos. Professor Mayo is a philosopher of science from Virginia Tech working mainly on experimentation. Her book Error and the Growth of Experimental Knowledge recently won the prestigious Lakatos Award. Professor Spanos is an econometrician from the University of Cyprus. His publications include the now classic Statistical Foundations of Econometric Modelling. Their talk was titled 'A Post-Data Interpretation of Neyman-Pearson Methods Based on a Conception of Severe Testing' (which is now a discussion paper in the Measurement series).

The remaining two talks of that term were given by Julian Reiss and Hsiang-Ke Chao, both from the Measurement Group. Reiss's paper 'Natural Economic Quantities and Their Measurement' discussed and developed an important distinction drawn by WS Jevons between genuine or 'natural' and 'fictitious' quantities and applied it to two case studies. It has now been published as a discussion paper in the Measurement series and is forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Methodology. Chao's paper 'Milton Friedman and the Emergence of the Permanent Income Hypothesis' investigates the evolution of Friedman's permanent income hypothesis from the 1940s to 1960s, and how it became the paradigm of modern consumption theory (see DP MEAS 9/00| 9/00| 9/00|).

In the Michaelmas term we had four meetings, most of which were led by a member of the group and discussed some issues of their current research.

The opening was made by Hasok Chang with his presentation on 'Peirce and the Concept of Boostrapping', which one finds implicit in Peirce's work. Mary Morgan then gave a presentation on 'Simulations in Economics', which drew on her recent work in the philosophy of simulations (see her recent discussion paper 'Experiments without Material Intervention').

In the third meeting we read two papers on measuring the age of the universe. The discussion was led by Carl Hoefer. The fourth meeting consisted of an entire workshop, which was joined by some of our colleagues from Amsterdam. In the morning session we had Philip Epstein from the Economics History Department here at LSE giving a presentation on 'The Measurement of the Liquidity Effect'. He discussed both a classic in the field by Hamilton and recent work from one of Nancy Cartwright's examinees at the University of California. In the afternoon session there were three talks given by the members of the Amsterdam branch of the group. First Marcel Boumans gave his paper on calibration, then Peter Rodenburg his on 'Measurement Strategies of Unemployment', and finally we heard Harro Maas on 'An Instrument Can Make a Science'. Both Rodenberg's and Maas's papers are out now as discussion papers. Maas's paper is also forthcoming in History of Political Economy.

In the Lent term, we again had a wide variety of topics. The beginning was made by Pascal Riviere, who is a researcher at the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), Paris, in the area of computer-aided modelling of statistical processes. He currently visits Southampton University. His talk, 'Problems in Economic Measurements', discussed the difficulties of defining and measuring firms' returns.

Mary Morgan gave her paper on 'Prisoner's Dilemmas' in the second meeting. In it, she urges the indispensability of interpretative narratives for applications of the 'Prisoner's Dilemma' game.

Turning more towards the physics side of the project, the third meeting was hosted by Roman Frigg, who presented his recent work on 'Self-Organised Criticality', which is a relatively novel approach in the area of non-equilibrium thermodynamics.

In the final meeting Richard Bradley from the Philosophy Department at LSE gave a talk on the 'Measurement of Belief'. It essentially presented a formal version of an idea, which is due to Frank Ramsey, using the methods that have been developed in the foundations of measurement.

The project's discussion paper series 'Measurement in Physics and Economics', which was launched in 1998, has been successfully continued. The project directors Nancy Cartwright, Hasok Chang, Carl Hoefer and Mary Morgan also figure as editors of this series. Julian Reiss took over from Sang Wook Yi the position of research coordinator in early 2001. He thus succeeds him as managing editor of the series, too. Eight papers have been published in the series during the period of this progress report. All economics papers are published jointly with the discussion paper series of the Amsterdam group, Research Memoranda in History and Methodology of Economics.

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