Understanding the advantages and limitations of economists’ methods clarifies the value they can add to analysis of non-economic questions. Equally important, it underscores how economists’ approach can complement but never replace alternative, often qualitative methods used in other scholarly disciplines.
CAMBRIDGE – Economists have never been shy about taking on the big questions that disciplines such as history, sociology, or political science consider their own province. What have been slavery’s long-run implications for contemporary American society? Why do some communities exhibit higher levels of social trust than others? What explains the rise of right-wing populism in recent years?
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