• History of econometrics;
  • Methodology;
  • Rational expectations;
  • Structural model;
  • VAR

Abstract This paper surveys the rise of the Vector AutoRegressive (VAR) approach from a historical perspective. It shows that the VAR approach arises from a fusion of the Cowles Commission tradition and time series statistical methods, catalysed by the rational expectations (RE) movement, that the approach offers a systematic solution to the issue of ‘model choice’ bypassed by Cowles researchers, hence essentially inheriting and enhancing the Cowles legacy rather than abandoning or opposing it. By tackling model choice, however, the VAR approach helps reform econometrics by shifting the research focus from measurement of given theories to identification/verification of data-coherent theories.