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date: 08 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article explains the puzzling methodology of an important econometric study of health and status. It notes the widespread use of invariance in both economic and philosophical studies of causality to guarantee that causal knowledge can be used to predict the effects of manipulations. It argues 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. It questions the special role of causal knowledge with respect to predictions about the effects of manipulations once the importance of adding on invariance is recognized. It also draws the despairing conclusion that both causation and invariance are poor tools for predicting the outcomes of policy and technology and to pose the challenge.

Keywords: health, status, invariance, philosophical studies, causation, policy

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