I recently unloaded on Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution for his rather weak argument that economics is a science (see here and here). Cowen now says , more reasonably, that economics is a science "but let's keep in mind that being a science, taken alone, doesn't get you very far." That's more like it.
Many thoughtful economists have considered the question whether economics is a science. A Google search on "economics a science" yields some good hits on the subject. I won't venture a summary, but I will say that they seem consistent in tone with Cowen's newly found humility.
Nevertheless, economics -- microeconomics in particular -- offers useful insights about human behavior. To the extent that those insights are buttressed by statistical evidence -- if not precisely quantified by such evidence -- they are even more useful. It remains true, however, that economics, in its inchoate form, more closely resembles climatology than physics.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Economics as Science
Posted by Loquitur Veritatem at 11:59 AM