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

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Wed Jan 07 1998 - 10:44:45 PST

>I agree with all 3 claims. All the "harder" sciences permit extensive
>designed experiments except astronomy. Astronomy gets by as it has
>such an enormous library of things to observe and its objects of study
>don't interact like people. Really convincing evidence usually requires
>carefully designed and thorough experiments. One of my favorite
>examples was the guy who proved pellagra wasn't transmissible by
>eating and snorting virtually every obtainable bodily secretion from
>afflicted individuals, combined with treatment by dietary therapy.
>You just can't do that kind of thing in economics, and it's no fault
>of the economists.

What would "that kind of thing in economics" be exactly? Economists
do lots of experiments.

>>2. Undergraduate courses in computer science and especially economics
>>typically show lots of distain for their students. ...
>True enough; my professors generally groveled in apology for such a
>monstrous demand as taking a derivative, at the University of Chicago,
>even. Nonetheless, it's the shortage of empiricism which disappointed
>me, not the shortage of math.

A shortage in your classes, or a shortage in the journals? To me, the
journals are chock full of empirics.

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 18:36:51 1998

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