Universal laws and economic phenomena



Despite the idiosyncratic behavior of individuals, empirical regularities exist in social and economic systems. These regularities often arise from simple underlying mechanisms which, analogous to the natural sciences, can be expressed as universal principles or laws. In this essay, I discuss the similarities between economic and natural phenomena and argue that it is advantageous for economists to adopt methods from the natural sciences to discover “universal laws” in economic systems. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Complexity, 2011