Social, behavioral and economic science is chronically underfunded relative to other fields. Despite this lack of investment, we’ve seen a tremendous advances in our understanding of human behavior, decision making and complex systems in the past 30 years. In today’s NYT Room for Debate Dr. Charles Plott also makes an important point regarding the distinction between economics as a science and its applications.
Economics…stands out because of its accomplishments given the very small amount of basic research support it receives (less that one half of 1 percent of the National Science Foundation budget). The science is supported by rapidly growing experimental methodology, the development of statistical techniques for testing theory in the real world and advancing theory untangling exceptionally complex phenomena. The consequences of economics applications touch almost every aspect of life.