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Causality, invariance and policy.

Cartwright, N. (2009) 'Causality, invariance and policy.', in The Oxford handbook of philosophy of economics. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 410-423. Oxford handbooks in philosophy.


This chapter has five aims: 1. To explain the puzzling methodology of an important econometric study of health and status. 2. To note the widespread use of invariance in both economic and philosophical studies of causality to guarantee that causal knowledge can be used, as we have always supposed it can be, to predict the effects of manipulations. 3. To argue that the kind of invariance seen widely in economic methodology succeeds at this job whereas a standard kind of invariance now popular in philosophy cannot. 4. To question the special role of causal knowledge with respect to predictions about the effects of manipulations once the importance of adding on invariance is recognized. 5. To draw the despairing conclusion that both causation and invariance are poor tools for predicting the outcomes of policy and technology and to pose the challenge: what can we offer that works better?

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is a draft of a chapter that was accepted for publication by Oxford University Press in the book 'The Oxford handbook of philosophy of economics' edited by Harold Kincaid and Don Ross and published in 2009.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:15 April 2016
Date of first online publication:2009
Date first made open access:No date available

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