Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What is the place of Economics in Science?

The AAAS, which publishes Science magazine, has elected a new list of Fellows, 701 in all this year, including several economists (among whom I am one, which is what brought it to my attention):

Section on Social, Economic and Political Sciences
  • Howard E. AldrichUniv. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Nicole Woolsey BiggartUniv. of California, Davis
  • Herbert GintisCentral European Univ., Hungary
  • Randy HodsonOhio State Univ.
  • Edward Paul LazearStanford Univ.
  • Deirdre McCloskeyUniv. of Illinois at Chicago
  • Melvin L. OliverUniv. of California, Santa Barbara
  • Zhenchao QianOhio State Univ.
  • Alvin E. RothHarvard Univ.
  • John SkvoretzUniv. of South Florida
  • Richard Michael SuzmanNational Institute on Aging/NIH
I am a long-time subscriber to Science, but not for it's publications in Economics. So I was interested to note that the new Economics Fellows aren't in a section devoted to Economics, but rather one that is apparently devoted to Sociology, Economics, and Political Science.

That doesn't seem like an unnatural grouping, except for the fact that the other Sections seem to concentrate much more narrowly. Here's the list of all 24 Sections:

AAAS Sections
The 24 sections arrange symposia for the Annual Meeting, elect officers, and provide expertise for Association-wide projects.
For a listing of section officers, click on the sections below.
Agriculture, Food, and Renewable Resources (Section O)
Anthropology (Section H)
Astronomy (Section D)
Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences (Section W)
Visit the AAAS Section W Web site
Biological Sciences (Section G)
Visit the AAAS Section G Web site.
Chemistry (Section C)
Dentistry and Oral Health Sciences (Section R)
Education (Section Q)
Engineering (Section M)
General Interest in Science and Engineering (Section Y)
Geology and Geography (Section E)
History and Philosophy of Science (Section L)
Visit the AAAS Section L Web site
Industrial Science and Technology (Section P)
Information, Computing, and Communication (Section T)
Linguistics and Language Science (Section Z)
Mathematics (Section A)
Medical Sciences (Section N)
Neuroscience (Section V)
Pharmaceutical Sciences (Section S)
Physics (Section B)
Visit the AAAS Section B Web site
Psychology (Section J)
Social, Economic, and Political Sciences (Section K)
Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering (Section X)
Statistics (Section U)
I'm reminded of the quote by Keynes:"If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid. " Looking at the list (Dentists have almost their own Section), I can see that we have a way to go, at least in the AAAS and Science.

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