Econometrics: The Keynes-Tinbergen Controversy

7 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2015 Last revised: 28 Feb 2015

See all articles by Marcel J. Boumans

Marcel J. Boumans

Utrecht University School of Economics

Date Written: February 15, 2015


The controversy between Keynes and Tinbergen was about the applicability of regression analysis to economic material. According to Keynes, a necessary requirement was that the economic material is homogeneous, in time and place, and that therefore Tinbergen should test his material for this condition. Tinbergen never addressed this problem, because he assumed that economic material was like the material studied in natural science, namely homogeneous. He therefore could not understand Keynes’s criticisms, and so assumed that Keynes did not understand his method.

Keywords: econometric methodology, statistical signifiance, regression analysis, homogeneity, statistical testing

JEL Classification: B23, B41, C20

Suggested Citation

Boumans, Marcel J., Econometrics: The Keynes-Tinbergen Controversy (February 15, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Marcel J. Boumans (Contact Author)

Utrecht University School of Economics ( email )

Kriekenpitplein 21-22
Adam Smith Building
Utrecht, +31 30 253 7373 3584 EC
+31 30 253 6287 (Phone)


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics