Letter to the editor - evidence-based economics

Sir,

We would like to take up a contribution by Michael Joffe1 in the October 2013 Newsletter in which he argues in favour of a much stronger focus on teaching evidence-based economics in response to the crisis of 2008. As a matter of fact, we enthusiastically share his view and would like to add that evidence-based economics, like evidence-based medicine, is not content with mere speculation about the possible effects of an intervention, but seeks to generate clean evidence, e.g. from randomized experiments, to identify the mechanisms that actually cause an effect. That said, experimental or empirical investigations of such sort must usually be based on a solid theoretical foundation.

In order to educate our students in this spirit we go beyond the customary introduction of additional empirical topics and courses in our bachelor and master programmes. Actually, we have recently also introduced a new doctoral program. The program actually carries the official title Evidence-Based Economics, and it is part of the Munich Graduate School of Economics (that coordinates several programmes), taking in ten fully funded doctoral students every second year in September. More information can be found at: http://www.evidence-based-economics.de/home/

Yours sincerely,

Florian Englmaier, Martin Kocher,
Klaus Schmidt, Joachim Winter
Department of Economics, University of Munich
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1, 80539 Munich, Germany

Note: 1. www.res.org.uk/view/art6Oct13Features.html

From issue no. 164, January 2014, p.19

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