Trial and error over theory
The best way to find if something works is to try it.
Noah Smith has a great look at the upside down economics of natural experiments in economics. It's a way to change the world that he talks about like a revolution.
Rather than building models filled with assumptions, economists are pushing for experimental studies. It works best in the micro sense to answer a question like: Do smaller classes improve education?
But local trials of things like guaranteed minimum income suggest that economists have tired of math and models and are open to testing models in the real world and studying the results.
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