The post title is, of course, from the late, great Jacob Viner, who tells us that it isn’t totally easy to characterize exactly what it is that we economists do.  The alive, possibly great Daniel Hamermesh from the University of Texas has been making some headway on cataloging exactly what that is.  And, increasingly, it appears that the top journals are featuring more empirical work and less theory.

Justin Fox at Bloomberg tells us all about it.*

Or just look at the picture:

Is this part of the big data revolution we’ve been hearing so much about?

Potentially more interesting is that experimental makes up almost 10% of the total.


* Actually, Hamermesh published the paper several years ago, but I guess the news cycle is slow getting around to reading the Journal of Economic Literature.