Apr 1, 2010

Why are economists more prominent than historians?

Ezra Klein writes:
Economists had managed a remarkable balancing act between making the guts of their work totally incomprehensible — and thus forbiddingly impressive — to the outside world while continuing to offer reasonably straightforward conclusions. The basic form of an academic economics paper is a couple of comprehensible paragraphs at the beginning and a couple of comprehensible paragraphs at the end, with a bunch of really-hard-to-follow math or statistical analysis in the middle. An academic history paper, on the other hand, is often an uninterrupted cascade of semi-comprehensible jargon that neither impresses a lay reader nor offers any clear conclusions.

1 comment:

Cam said...

I remember The Dude Watson saying in Gerzensee last year that the job of an economist was to take a simple idea, write a really complex looking paper about it, then make it look really simple and straightforward when they present it to others.....