The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Marcel Boumans
Reference work entry


Measurement theory takes measurement as the assignment of numbers to properties of an empirical system so that a homomorphism between the system and a numerical system is established. To avoid operationalism, two approaches can be distinguished. In the axiomatic approach it is asserted that if the empirical system satisfies a certain set of axioms such a homomorphism can be constructed. In the empirical approach, empirical adequacy is established by aiming at accuracy, precision and standardization. Precision is achieved by least-squares-errors methods, accuracy by calibration and standardization by the involvement of independent theoretical and empirical studies.


Axiomatic index theory Axiomatic theory Calibration Ceteris paribus Fisher, I. Functional equation theory Index numbers Measurement error models Measurement theory Model theory of measurement Operationalism Passive observations Price indexes Representation theorems Representational theory of measurement Structural parameters Uniqueness theorems 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcel Boumans
    • 1
  1. 1.