Economics ; Queen no more?
In the age of Inter-disciplinary collaborations, Economics seems to be an outlier.
Economic studies are probably known for their famous set of assumptions, such as “rational” human beings, to decode activities and issues in the world. Following such assumptions will necessary make the studies “accurate” in academic sense but often not so in reality. This is usually due to the distance between the Economic perspective and the complex, inter-connected nature of the real world situations. (Earth might be an ideal world for Economics, but in a parallel universe)
Unlike Natural Sciences, which often have “observable truths” similar to the “theoretical truths” , a particular social science alone will not be sufficient to understand and explain an observation or an issue eg. why people are poor, in its entirety.
“the general or prevailing opinion in any subject is rarely or never the whole truth; it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied”
― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
Therefore to better comprehend the world, different perspectives and ideas from multiple social sciences will be required. If that is the case, how does Economic research fair? Are they open to use the views of other social sciences? Data from Microsoft Academics might contain some insights.
Band of Social Science (Queens)
The set of Social Sciences that were selected for the analysis, along with Economics, are Sociology, Political Science, Psychology, History and Geography. These subjects are now often integrated to individual study areas such as Political Economics, Behavioral Economics and Social Psychology , therefore it may possible to use multiple subjects ag with a main focus of a study to analyze a research question.
The analysis was conducted based on the two percentages, Research only mention the particular subject and Multidisciplinary research, as proxies for Openness of a field and the results are as follows :
As it appears, Economics is somewhat less integrated with other subjects in terms of research studies. Despite the initial judgment as a weakness, this can also be taken as a possible opportunity for the Researchers, specially Economists, to observe the study questions through multiple perspectives, and possible uncover valuable insights that would otherwise not be possible by using only Economic theories. And if required, best place(s) to understand some “best practices” would be Sociology and Political Science studies, with their higher multidisciplinary studies percentages.
If being the Queen of Social Sciences means collaborating with peer subjects to better understand the “whole truth”, as per JS Mill , then it seems like Economics have lost the crown and not just one, but two queens hail in the land of Social Science Research.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.