The case for economics — by the numbers

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - 00:10 in Psychology & Sociology

In recent years, criticism has been levelled at economics for being insular and unconcerned about real-world problems. But a new study led by MIT scholars finds the field increasingly overlaps with the work of other disciplines, and, in a related development, has become more empirical and data-driven, while producing less work of pure theory. The study examines 140,000 economics papers published over a 45-year span, from 1970 to 2015, tallying the “extramural” citations that economics papers received in 16 other academic fields — ranging from other social sciences such as sociology to medicine and public health. In seven of those fields, economics is the social science most likely to be cited, and it is virtually tied for first in citations in another two disciplines. In psychology journals, for instance, citations of economics papers have more than doubled since 2000. Public health papers now cite economics work twice as often as they did...

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