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Adventures in Ideas: Which Social Science Should Die?

Freakonomics Readers,

I’d like to enlist you in a debate that, to date, is mostly occurring within the academy.

Imagine that, in order to respond both to budgetary pressures and calls for greater relevance of the American academy, College & University Presidents are re-examining their social science disciplines. They have decided to eliminate one major discipline. In your opinion, which of the following is no longer as relevant to the mission of research and education, and should be eliminated as a consequence?

  1. Psychology
  2. Political science
  3. Economics
  4. Sociology

I welcome your answers (and rationale) in the comments, or you can visit my survey questionnaire at the link below:

P.S. I did not place “anthropology” and “history” as options because of their close links to the humanities.

P.P.S. Before you think this experiment is fanciful, I invite you to take a look at a recent article in Nature by Luk Van Langenhove, who writes that social science is becoming irrelevant.

P.P.P.S. Assume that existing faculty would be absorbed into other departments, but no new hires would be granted for the shuttered department.

I’ll post the results and some of the commentary next week.