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' or ' () is a
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...
phrase meaning "other things equal"; English translations of the phrase include "all other things being equal" or "other things held constant" or "all else unchanged". A prediction or a statement about a causal,
empirical Empirical evidence is the information received by means of the senses, particularly by observation and documentation of patterns and behavior through experimentation. The term comes from the Ancient Greek, Greek word for experience, ἐμπει ...
, or logical relation between two states of affairs is ''ceteris paribus'' if it is acknowledged that the prediction, although usually accurate in expected conditions, can fail or the relation can be abolished by intervening factors. chapter 2 A ''ceteris paribus'' assumption is often key to scientific inquiry, as scientists seek to screen out factors that perturb a relation of interest. Thus
epidemiologist Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where), patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined population In biology, a population is a number of all the organisms of the same group ...
s, for example, may seek to control
independent variable Dependent and independent variables are Variable and attribute (research), variables in mathematical modeling, statistical modeling and experimental sciences. Dependent variables receive this name because, in an experiment, their values are studie ...
s as factors that may influence
dependent variables Dependent and independent variables are variables in mathematical modeling A mathematical model is a description of a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to f ...
—the outcomes or effects of interest. Likewise, in
scientific modeling Scientific modelling is a scientific activity, the aim of which is to make a particular part or feature of the world easier to understand, define, quantify, visualize, or simulate by referencing it to existing and usually commonly accepted ...
, simplifying assumptions permit illustration or elucidation of concepts thought relevant within the sphere of inquiry. There is ongoing debate in the philosophy of science concerning ''ceteris paribus'' statements. On the
logical empiricist Logical positivism, later called logical empiricism, and both of which together are also known as neopositivism, was a movement in Western philosophy whose central thesis was the verificationism, verification principle (also known as the verifiabil ...
view, fundamental physics tends to state universal laws, whereas other sciences, such as biology, and social sciences such as economics and psychology, tend to state laws that hold true in normal conditions but have exceptions: ''ceteris paribus'' laws (cp laws).Alexander Reutlinger, Gerhard Schurz & Andreas Hüttemann
"Ceteris paribus laws"
in Edward N Zalta, ed, ''The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy'', Spring 2014 edn.
The focus on universal laws is a criterion distinguishing fundamental physics as fundamental, whereas cp laws are predominant in most other sciences as special sciences, whose laws hold in special cases. This distinction assumes a
logical empiricist Logical positivism, later called logical empiricism, and both of which together are also known as neopositivism, was a movement in Western philosophy whose central thesis was the verificationism, verification principle (also known as the verifiabil ...
view of science. It does not readily apply in a mechanistic understanding of scientific discovery. There is reasonable disagreement as to whether mechanisms or laws are the appropriate model, though mechanisms are the favored method.Glennan, S. (2014). Mechanisms. In M. Curd & S. Psillos (eds.), ''The Routledge companion to philosophy of science'' (2nd ed., pp. 420–428). New York: Routledge.


Economics


List

Economics' ''ceteris paribus'' conditions include:


Interpretation

One of the disciplines in which ''ceteris paribus'' clauses are most widely used is
economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. ...
, in which they are employed to simplify the formulation and description of economic outcomes. When using ''ceteris paribus'' in economics, one assumes that all other variables except those under immediate consideration are held constant. For example, it can be predicted that if the price of
beef Beef is the culinary name for meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization allowed the domestication of animals such as chickens, she ...
''increases''—''ceteris paribus''—the quantity of beef demanded by buyers will ''decrease''. In this example, the clause is used to operationally describe everything surrounding the relationship between both the ''price'' and the ''quantity demanded'' of an ordinary good. This operational description intentionally ignores both known and unknown factors that may also influence the relationship between price and quantity demanded, and thus to assume ''ceteris paribus'' is to assume away any interference with the given example. Such factors that would be intentionally ignored include: a change in the price of substitute goods, (e.g., the price of pork or lamb); a change in the level of
risk aversion In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods ...
among buyers (e.g., due to an increase in the fear of mad cow disease); and a change in the level of overall demand for a good regardless of its current price (e.g., a societal shift toward
vegetarianism Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization allowed the domestica ...
). The clause is often loosely translated as "holding all else constant." It does not imply that no other things will in fact change; rather, it isolates the effect of one particular change. Holding all other things constant is directly analogous to using a partial derivative in calculus rather than a total derivative, and to running a regression analysis, regression containing multiple variables rather than just one in order to isolate the individual effect of one of the variables.


Characterization given by Alfred Marshall

The clause is used to consider the effect of some causes in isolation, by assuming that other influences are absent. Alfred Marshall expressed the use of the clause as follows:


Two uses

The above passage by Marshall highlights two ways in which the ''ceteris paribus'' clause may be used: The one is ''hypothetical'', in the sense that some factor is assumed fixed in order to analyse the influence of another factor in isolation. This would be hypothetical isolation. An example would be the hypothetical separation of the income effect and the substitution effect of a price change, which actually go together. The other use of the ''ceteris paribus'' clause is to see it as a means for obtaining an approximate solution. Here it would yield a substantive isolation. Substantive isolation has two aspects: temporal and causal. Temporal isolation requires the factors fixed under the ''ceteris paribus'' clause to actually move so slowly relative to the other influence that they can be taken as practically constant at any point in time. So, if
vegetarianism Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization allowed the domestica ...
spreads very slowly, inducing a slow decline in the demand for beef, and the market for beef clears comparatively quickly, we can determine the price of beef at any instant by the intersection of supply and demand, and the changing demand for beef will account for the price changes over time (Temporary Equilibrium Method). The other aspect of substantive isolation is causal isolation: those factors frozen under a ''ceteris paribus'' clause should not significantly be affected by the processes under study. If a change in government policies induces changes in consumers' behaviour on the same time scale, the assumption that consumer behaviour remains unchanged while policy changes is inadmissible as a substantive isolation (Lucas critique).


See also

*Apples and oranges *Confounding *List of Latin phrases *''Mutatis mutandis'' *Occam's razor *Partial derivative


Notes


References

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External links

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{{DEFAULTSORT:Ceteris Paribus Latin logical phrases Latin philosophical phrases Philosophy of science Causality