How to Think Like an Economist

“That economics is about people means that economists cannot ethically undertake large-scale experiments. Economists cannot set up special situations in which potential sources of disturbance are reduced to a minimum, then observe what happens, and generalize from the results of the experiment (where sources of disturbance are absent) to what happens in the world (where sources of disturbance are common). Thus the experimental method, the driver of rapid progress in many of the natural sciences, is lacking in economics. This flaw makes economics harder to analyze, and it makes economists’ conclusions much more tentative and subject to dispute, than is the case with natural sciences.”