A structure of the consumption function

Journal of Economic Methodology 14 (2):227-248 (2007)
It is claimed in the structural realism in philosophy of science that scientists aim to preserve the true structure, represented by the equations in their models. We reinterpret structural realism as a doctrine involving representation. Proving the existence of a representation theorem secures the problem of lacking independent criteria for identification between structure and non?structure. This paper argues that a similar realist view of structure can be found in the theory of consumption in which the Fisherian framework of intertemporal choices is regarded as the true structure of the consumption function. Unlike the passive strategy of inducing the structure contained in structural realism, economists define structure in terms of invariance under intervention. Such a definition serves as a crucial device to examine and develop models for the adequacy of representing the structure of the consumption functions. JEL Classification: B22, B41, C50, E21.
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