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Is Economics a Science?

Postby ODFist » 23 Oct 2013, 12:11

Is Economics a Science?

“Yes, economics is a science”, says Harvard Professor, Raj Chetty.

The point is said Paul Krugman “while Chetty is right that economics can be and sometimes is a scientific field in the sense that theories are testable and there are researchers doing the testing, all too many economists treat their field as a form of theology instead.” and he coined: ” May be economics is a science, but many economists are not scientists.’ ... =auto&_r=0

Of course, not every science is experiment based. According to Prof. William Easterly of NYU: “Evolution is an example of a non-experimental science; don’t need experiments to defend economics.”

In Chetty’s economics: ‘It is true that the answers to many “big picture” macroeconomic questions — like the causes of recessions or the determinants of growth — remain elusive. But in this respect, the challenges faced by economists are no different from those encountered in medicine and public health. Health researchers have worked for more than a century to understand the “big picture” questions of how diet and lifestyle affect health and aging, yet they still do not have a full scientific understanding of these connections. Some studies tell us to consume more coffee, wine and chocolate; others recommend the opposite. But few people would argue that medicine should not be approached as a science or that doctors should not make decisions based on the best available evidence. As is the case with epidemiologists, the fundamental challenge faced by economists — and a root cause of many disagreements in the field — is our limited ability to run experiments. If we could randomize policy decisions and then observe what happens to the economy and people’s lives, we would be able to get a precise understanding of how the economy works and how to improve policy. But the practical and ethical costs of such experiments preclude this sort of approach. (Surely we don’t want to create more financial crises just to understand how they work.) Nonetheless, economists have recently begun to overcome these challenges by developing tools that approximate scientific experiments to obtain compelling answers to specific policy questions. In previous decades the most prominent economists were typically theorists like Paul Krugman and Janet L. Yellen, whose models continue to guide economic thinking. Today, the most prominent economists are often empiricists like David Card of the University of California, Berkeley, and Esther Duflo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who focus on testing old theories and formulating new ones that fit the evidence. This kind of empirical work in economics might be compared to the “micro” advances in medicine (like research on therapies for heart disease) that have contributed enormously to increasing longevity and quality of life, even as the “macro” questions of the determinants of health remain contested.’ Read the interesting argument on the subject further at: ... gn=Buffer& ... genumber=2

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