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asked ago in General Economics Questions by (230 points)
I sometimes read that the last twenty years have seen an empirical revolution in economics and that economic theory has begun to lose its saliency in graduate schools. Certainly, an inspection of the table of contents of the major economics journals shows a preponderance of empirical papers. But much of this literature seems to simply reflect economists' skills as data analysts rather than economists per se since the topics addressed would appear to be equally at home in criminology, political science, sociology, and public administration journals. The relevance of much of this research to economics is not clear to me. This is not to deny the high quality of this research. However, traditional economics questions concerning how economic agents behave when their constraints change seem not to be of much interest to the younger generation of economists. I am also concerned with the extent to which this research program is atheoretical, I am old enough to remember the "measurement without theory debate" and to have attended the LSE where I was taught by Lipsey and Co. that science was about the fruitful interaction between theory and empirical analysis. Probably I am just an old fogey.

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