Re: poly: Econ, the final frontier...

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Wed Jan 07 1998 - 09:36:18 PST

Perry writes:
>Dunno. I got the impression very early on in my academic carreer that
>the social scientists with the ability to reason correctly and
>actually follow the scientific method were rare, and thus started
>steering clear of social science for the same reason (pardon me, AI
>researchers) I stay away from most AI research.
>You are obviously an exception, but I don't know if you are enough to
>get me away from my earlier impression of the subject.

Having been both an AI researcher and a social scientist, I suggest
you reconsider your early impressions. Not only does AI have lots to
offer (amid lots of crap), but technical social science has even more.

I don't know where you got your impressions, but consider these points:

1. The place to mostly reliably find the good stuff among the crap is
in the top academic journals. It's *not* in popular articles on the
subject, and *not* by taking a random class at a random school. You
can also find good stuff by talking to the top professionals in
industry, but its harder to talk to these folks. So go look at the
journals before you form you next impression.

2. Undergraduate courses in computer science and especially economics
typically show lots of distain for their students. Profs don't think
these students can handle enough math to show them the good stuff, and
they prefer to take as grad students those who did undergrad work in
math or some difficult science. I think this is relevant for Curt's
experience as an UG econ major.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Wed Jan 7 17:28:16 1998

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