Proposal: Economics

On the one hand, I would think that econophysics is off-topic. It is undertaken mostly by physicists, who publish their results in physics journals and it seems like Physics SE would be more appropriate. Most of the (academic) economists that I know, myself included, are somewhat skeptical of the entire undertaking.

On the other hand, one could have made essentially the same point about behavioural economics / psychology as recently as a decade or two ago, and that is now reasonably well-integrated into mainstream economics. To the extent that econophysics directly addresses questions about te dynamics of economic systems, it would seem to be on topic.


Econophysics uses tools from physics to answer questions from economics. The first aspect can be supported by Physics SE, the second not really. Therefore questions about econophysics should be possible in an Economics SE.


Questions about Econophysics should not only be accepted but encouraged.

While measures like the ECI are not only nearly universally accepted, but demonstrably more accurate than their predecessors, many contributions from physicists have overstepped their bounds.

Right now, the more accepted term for the cross-over is generally "Complexity Economics", but anyone arguing that the similarities between Black-Scholes and diffusion equations [2] [3] is purely superficial is clearly out of their depth.

Further, many of the most significant modern advances in economics have come from cross-disciplinary luminaries (Nash, Von Neummann, etc.) so the community should be primed to consider those opinions and weigh in accordingly.

Finally, if a question is wrong, that's the point of a forum. Answer it correctly. If an answer is wrong, downvote accordingly.

Condescension does nothing to benefit a growing community.


I disagree. Econophysics is more than frowned upon; it is usually ridiculed. See http://economiclogic.blogspot.ca/search/label/econophysics for example. Economists are skeptical of behavioural and experimental economics but these subfields have never been regarded as quackery (like econophysics).

While outright banning certain topics from being discussed would probably be counterproductive, it would appear that most of the users active in this proposal are not economists. Most of the proposed questions are what you would expect to hear from students in an introductory macroeconomics course.

Therefore, if the aim of this site is to open a forum for high-quality questions relevant to economists engaged in research, I think the bar should be raised. It is currently too low to interest actual experts.

  • 2
    Robert Barro more or less founded new classical economics using mathematical tools from physics. Questions about Econophysics have to potential to be some of the highest quality questions a site like this could see. Because they are mostly uncharted territory and touch on some of the important foundations of economics. When/If can you model a system containing human behavior like a system from nature? - Just to give an example.
    – Thorst
    May 23 '14 at 8:32
  • 4
    Again, from this comment, it looks like most of you are not economists. Dr. Barro is one of the greatest economists of all time but you should read further than the first paragraph in his Wikipedia entry to understand what he has done. Economic models had been used since Barro was a child. Arrow and Debreu's welfare theorems were published when Barro was 10 years old. Sure, Eocnophysics might one day be a valid framework. If it ever is, it will be published in the best academic journals, not on this site. Academic economists look at econophysics like medics look at homeopathy.
    – Fael
    May 23 '14 at 14:14
  • 4
    Sounding condescending and arrogant does not really make your point come off stronger.
    – Thorst
    May 23 '14 at 20:01
  • 3
    Did you just cite a blogspot blog as evidence that dozens to hundreds of peer-reviewed papers are unprofessional? Sep 11 '14 at 16:40
  • @Fael Don't take this the wrong way. But please don't join the eventual beta. This sort of divisive condescending attitude absolutely kills nascent beta stacks stone dead. And frankly - pure academic stacks that refuse laymen don't thrive well. Where would the history stack exchange be if only historians could ask or answer questions? Oct 25 '14 at 1:17
  • @Fael Your point is well-taken. I understand your concern. A lot can get dumped into category Econophysics. Some is "legitimate" economics. Models are versatile; they are ubiquitous in economics. I cringe at bad Physica Statistical Mechanics research papers, but wouldn't exclude lots of material elsewhere because it uses partial diff eq's more common in physics but applicable in economics too. Oct 25 '14 at 19:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .