What is a scientific model



1. Application / purpose: On the basis of functional, structural or behavioral similarities or analogies to an original, models are used for the purpose of specifically solving problems that cannot be carried out on the original or would be too costly. So a model is an abstraction of the original.

2. Species: The distinction between iconic or material models (e.g. globe as a model of the earth, replica of the outer shape of an automobile for wind tunnel tests) and linguistic-semantic models (e.g. model of the market behavior of economic subjects; models of different decision-making situations). Regarding the degree of similarity between the original and the model, between isomorphic illustration (ideally, each element of the original corresponds to a model element and vice versa) and homomorphic figure (sufficient similarity between the original and the model).

3. Model and Theory: Synonyms Use of the term, especially when it comes to formalized (possibly also mathematicized) theories. Since theories are only about linguistic structures, in this case there is an (unnecessarily) restrictive use of the term model. On the other hand, theories can be insofar as Sub-class of models interpreted as with their help certain original objects are abstractly and generalized. Within the real sciences, modeling can usefully be used as Application of theories be perceived in terms of certain facts or situations (Sub-class of theoretical models).

Models in economics

1. Importance: Models are very important in economics. However, there is also ample evidence that “thinking in models” can easily lead to a dead end (model platonism).

2. Types: a) Description models, with the help of which real objects are recorded descriptively.

Examples: Economic and operational accounting, i.e. instruments that allow certain economic processes to be mapped selectively. The purpose is to record certain quantities (such as the total national wealth or the debts of a company), so that specific ones too Acquisition models can be spoken. Furthermore, it is often a question of gaining additional knowledge with the help of certain arithmetic operations (e.g. about the lower price limit of a product). If such purposes are in the foreground, so-called Investigation models spoken.

b) Explanatory models, which are to be interpreted as the application of theories to more or less typical facts. For example, one can speak of a model of individual willingness to perform, which on the one hand includes general theories of motivation and, on the other hand, special facts (characteristics of company performance incentives such as remuneration, career, managerial behavior, etc.). Because of the extensive structural identity of explanation and prognosis, such models can also be used in part for prognostic purposes (prognosis model). A special form of such Forecast models are Simulation models (Simulation), with the help of which the effects of alternative constellations of conditions can be “played out”.

c) Decision models, go into the (possibly hypothetically introduced) objectives of model users:
(1) Various methods of (mathematical) decision research (Operations Research (OR), e.g. linear programming) that are used to solve well-structured decision problems.
(2) So-called heuristic procedures (e.g. decision tree procedures) that can be used to solve poorly structured problems. Decision-making models should help to achieve maximum goals. There is a close relationship to explanatory models insofar as these goals are not simply to be taken as given, but are to be viewed as facts in need of explanation.