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Archive for August 11th, 2005

ceteris paribus

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A long time ago, I took a first degree in Economics at the University of Bristol. Apart from explaining my tendency to waffle, and my desire to see theories backed up by evidence, it was where I first came across the latin ceteris paribus.

This phrase translates roughly ‘all else the same’ and is used in thought or math experiments by economists to imagine all other variables being artificially held constant in order to investigate the effect of a particular input variable on some complex system.

It cropped up again today in a discussion on the merits of linux vs windows as an underlying OS for Oracle databases. The problem of course is that all else isn’t the same. It is extraordinarily rare these days to have two systems that are close enough to each other to compare let alone imagine that windows vs linux as an os represents a single discreet change.

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Written by Niall Litchfield

August 11th, 2005 at 2:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized