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A Model DisciplinePolitical Science and the Logic of Representations$
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Kevin A. Clarke and David M. Primo

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195382198

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195382198.001.0001

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Theoretical Models

Theoretical Models

(p.78) 4 Theoretical Models
A Model Discipline

Kevin A. Clarke

David M. Primo

Oxford University Press

This chapter is devoted to theoretical models, which are characterized by their reliance on deductive reasoning, their technique (social choice and game theory), and their level of abstraction. Although there are many ways to categorize models, we create a classification scheme that is consistent with the usefulness and purpose of models. Models serve in any one, or more, of four different roles: foundational, organizational, exploratory, and predictive. We argue that models should be judged, not by how well they predict, which is a common standard, but by how useful they are. This approach avoids the arbitrary precision of cookbook methodologies, and properly calls attention to the role of taste in choosing between theoretical models.

Keywords:   theoretical models, game theory, social choice theory

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