Wednesday, October 28, 2009

QSS Blog on Physics and Political Science

Interesting blogpost on the interaction between physics and political science. We've had a number of discussions about econophysics here. I can remember during one relatively tense interaction someone shouting that they hardly understand half the symbols that the theoretical economists use without physics guys getting involved. More fundamentally, it may simply be the case that physicists are interested in a wholly different level of explanation, particularly when compared to political scientists.

link here

1 comment:

Kevin Denny said...

I have been somewhat skeptical about econophysics without knowing much about it (hey, no one's perfect). There is a long tradition of mathematicians developing techniques which they then decide offer great insights into socio-economic phenomena, usually the stock-market. Catastrophe theory was the new big thing at one point, then chaos theory, then complexity theory. Someone gave a seminar in Geary a few months back in this tradition: I heard it was bunk.
Often the work is characterized by a lack of insight into how markets and institutions work.
Having said all that, one has to be open to new ideas and techniques and we have been giving and taking them for decades. With my colleague Orla Doyle I have worked on voting (as have an increasing number of economists) so I can't complain.
The bottom line has to be: does this new approach provide new results or is it just pretty equations?