In their quest for universal laws, physicists use data mining methods on large datasets and uncover regularities that beg for a theory. Should economic adopt similar methods?
Austin Gerig thinks so, and he bases his entire argument on the distribution of daily returns of the stock market. It is true that Wall Street is full of Physics PhDs who do data mining, looking to beat arbitrage and the efficient market hypothesis. But that is not Economics. There is much more to Economics than studying the daily returns on the stock market, even if your family or neighbors think this is what you do as an economist. In particular, Economics is about studying how agents' behavior changes as the environment changes, something purely statistical methods will never uncover. And do not get me started on theory-less data mining. We already have too much of that in Economics, so do not let physicists do it, too.