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About us

The Center for Structural Econometrics (CSE) is a research center in applied economics based at the University of Bristol. CSE endeavors to bridge rigorous theory, frontier econometric techniques, and empirical facts in applied economic research.

The fundamental principle underpinning research at CSE is to recognize the inescapable need for a priori theoretical assumptions in the execution of applied economic research.

CSE embraces the general proposition that data must be viewed through the lens of an organizing theory if they are to inform the researcher on virtually any economic question. CSE further advocates an approach to applied economic research in which the a priori theoretical assumptions which are used in the production and interpretation of a set of results are carefully, completely, and clearly spelled out, in the hope of fostering clarity and transparency in academic work and facilitating the scientific debate.

While CSE unambiguously refutes the idea that a priori theoretical assumptions are arbitrary, unwarranted, or unnecessary as guidelines for applied work, it also recognizes the paramount importance of a posteriori validation of any theoretical model. Such validation should be achieved, whenever possible, through a confrontation with empirical facts.

Finally, CSE acknowledges that theories necessarily entail simplifications and approximations, and as such should not be taken as literal descriptions of reality.

Based on the above fundamental principles, CSE brings together applied economic theorists and applied econometricians to advance theory-based applied economic research in the UK and internationally, thus yielding new insights into underlying mechanisms of the economy, and better informing decision-makers in both the public and private sectors.

In pursuit of those overarching objectives, CSE sets itself the following specific goals:

  1. To develop new theoretical models capable of addressing a wide range of fundamental topics in applied economics;
  2. To develop new econometric techniques for structurally estimating theoretical models;
  3. To conduct theory-based applied research, and, where appropriate, to use fully structural estimation of behavioral models in order to gain a deeper understanding of a wide range of fundamental topics in applied economics;
  4. Where structural estimation is concerned, to pay special attention to model validation;
  5. To use theoretical and structural econometric tools to predict behavior (e.g. following a change of policy or an extraneous shock), and to use such predictions to inform the policy debate, and more generally non-academic users;
  6. To exchange and collaborate with the communities of academic and professional economists and to disseminate its research output to those communities, as well as to the wider public.

Finally, in all of its activities, including the dissemination of its research output, CSE further places a strong emphasis on scientific rigor and scientific ethics.

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© Centre for Structural Econometrics 2009