Economics as Science

Professor Leiter has reposted a great discussion on economics and its status as a science. BTW: Did you know that the Nobel Prize for economics isn’t really a Nobel? Check out this post where it is explained that the Bank of Sweden, in order to heighten the status of the field of Economics, endowed the award in the 1960s.

Update: I finally found this 2001 Article from the New York Times that more fully describes the origin of the imitation Nobel Prize:

…The prize was tacked on to the original awards in 1969 as a marketing ploy on behalf of Sweden’s central bank…

…officially the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel – has long been disdained by other laureates. Murray Gell-Mann, who won his Nobel in physics the year that economists were first honored, said he shocked a colleague when he mentioned the two winners of the economics prize while describing the awards ceremony. “You mean,” the colleague said, aghast, “they sat on the platform with you?”

Of course, economics as a distinct discipline is a creation of the 20th century. Economists have little patience with scientists who fret that economics is not a “hard” science. “Whether economics is a science or not is irrelevant,” said David Romer, an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley. “It’s serious scholarship, and it’s great to have that recognized.”

…Even in the early years, when acknowledged giants like Paul A. Samuelson, Milton Friedman and Kenneth Arrow were being honored with economics Nobels, Swedes as prominent as Gunnar Myrdal issued calls to abolish the prize. Even grateful recipients have sometime expressed reservations. Friedrich Hayek, whose reputation for Viennese courtesy rivaled that for his libertarian views, toasted the King and Queen of Sweden during the Nobel banquet by saying that, had he been consulted, he would have “decidedly advised” against creating the prize in the first place.