Economics: What is more important data or theory?

A professor once explained to me that those who come up with the best theories are those that are remembered well after they are dead. The problem is, is that they aren’t found until they are dead. If in Economics, you want to be famous in the short-term, then do a well researched paper full of date. This begins the question of which is better?

People like Milton Friedman do both and maybe a hybrid version is best. F.A. Hayek and Adam Smith are mostly theory as far as I can tell. Current books with famous economists like Steven Levitt give great paper with data. But will we remember the abortion vs. crime debate or the more police = more crime?

So as I hopefully continue my career in Economics after this semester should I focus on theory or data? I am naturally better at coming up with fun theories and learning new ones. Those are my thoughts so far this weekend.


Published in: on August 31, 2008 at 6:10 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. honestly liked bumping into your thread. Thank you for sharing this post!!

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