THE ECONOMIST AS SCIENTIST

Economists try to address their subject with a scientist’s objectivity. They approach the study of the economy in much the same way as a physicist approaches the study of matter and a biologist approaches the study of life They devise theories, collect data, and then analyze these data in an attempt to verify or refute their theories.

To beginners, it can seem odd to claim that economics is a science. After all, economists do not work with test tubes or telescopes. The essence of science, however, is the scientific method the dispassionate development and testing of theories about how the world works. This method of inquiry is as applicable to studying a nation’s economy as it is to studying the earth’s gravity or a species evolution. As Albert Einstein once put it, ‘The whole of science is nothing more than the refmement of everyday thinking Although Einstein’s comment is as true for social sciences such a economics as it is for natural sciences such as physics, most people are not accustomed to looking at society through the eyes of a scientist. Let’s discuss some of the ways in which economists apply the logic of science to examine how an economy works.

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