Completed course 3 and 4 of 10 in the Data Science Specialisation from Johns Hopkins University in the past a couple of weeks – another milestone towards my plan to integrate economics and computing in teaching, research, and a number of other innovative activities. To begin, I registered an awesome domain name EconCodex.org for development purposes.
My main objective of creating this site is to help tackle the challenges in cross-disciplinary research due to segmentation between social science and other fundamental science such as mathematics, statistics, and machine learning as part of computer science.
Instead of following a typical theory-to-application approach, I want to adopt an inductive reasoning approach starting with observed phenomenon, existing data, and conclusions drew from theoretical and empirical research in the literature. This mixed approach which combines data and theories generates a holistic view on economics as a discipline to those who are interested to study. More importantly, finding a common language among social and natural science — an universal code language that can be used to communicate how knowledge of various subjects was constructed and supported by empirical facts can be a great gateway towards cross-disciplinary research and new knowledge discovery.
Having said that, solving cross-disciplinary research ‘puzzle’ requires much more than just a common methodology shared among researchers of various background. As many data scientist, statisticians and econometricians may know already how difficult it can be to discern a simple pattern out of random noises based on observed data alone. Empirical research, as a result, is also limited in its power as a way to discover the truth. Many great theories in science happened way before empirical data was available. A recent example be the gravitational waves which was detected 100 years later after Albert Einstein published his general relativity.
Why do I choose to focus more on the empirical side of economics and other social science then? My professional philosophy as an economist is that empirical research should be guided by rigorous economic theory and theoretical research should be inspired by and help to explain empirical facts. Similarly, in cross-disciplinary research such as health economics and environmental economics, empirical facts and its research methods should connect and inspire researchers to develop new propositions and theorem in cross-disciplinary fields, and new theoretical research in turn guide and motivate more empirical research.