Politicians and journalists frequently call upon economists to make sense of a complex and highly unpredictable world. But the fine print that should qualify any economist’s answer is that no one actually knows for sure. In this article, EconTalk podcast host Russ Roberts provides plenty of reasons to doubt the predictive capacity of economists. Certainly, the assertion that economics isn’t a precise scientific discipline is not new. Many scholars, most notably Nassim Taleb, have argued the case elegantly. But this article is a useful reminder to approach economic predictions with a grain of salt. getAbstract recommends it to decision makers who rely on economic forecasts and to overconfident economists.
In this summary, you will learn
- Why different economists often end up with opposing conclusions,
- What distinguishes economics from science, and
- Why economists should explain how they collected their data and chose their analytical tools.
About the Author
Russ Roberts is a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. He is the host of the EconTalk podcast and author of How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life.
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