Comments most welcome. Please do not cite without first consulting the authors. This paper proposes a pragmatic alliance between critical realism and non-parametric statistical techniques in pursuit of causal explanations of economic phenomena by retroductive means. The alliance depends on clarifying the interpretive requirements for forming categories as nominal or classificatory scales or as ordinal or ranking scales. It also depends on establishing the scope of demi-regularities, as something to be explained and as something that allows a rough and ready extension of experimental conditions. The roughness and readiness of demi-regularities is matched by the assumptions and conditions of non-parametric analysis
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