Monday, March 05, 2012

Hard Problems in Social Science

An update to the "Harvard List" of the next "Hard Problems in Social Science"....
On Saturday, April 10, 2010, a dozen “big thinkers” shared their thoughts on the hardest problems in social science.

The magazine Nature recently summarized the event and updated with more related events and efforts. The US National Science Foundation has just finished its own agenda setting exercise:
SBE 2020: Future Research in the Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences
The top ten list according to Nature:

"Published online 2 February 2011 | Nature 470, 18-19 (2011) | doi:10.1038/470018a
Corrected online: 9 February 2011
Box: Priority list
From the article:
Social science lines up its biggest challenges
Top ten social-science questions
1. How can we induce people to look after their health?
2. How do societies create effective and resilient institutions, such as governments?
3. How can humanity increase its collective wisdom?
4. How do we reduce the ‘skill gap’ between black and white people in America?
5. How can we aggregate information possessed by individuals to make the best decisions?
6. How can we understand the human capacity to create and articulate knowledge?
7. Why do so many female workers still earn less than male workers?
8. How and why does the ‘social’ become ‘biological’?
9. How can we be robust against ‘black swans’ — rare events that have extreme consequences?
10. Why do social processes, in particular civil violence, either persist over time or suddenly change?"

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