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Published February 2, 2021 | Published + Submitted
Journal Article Open

The golden age of social science


Social science is entering a golden age, marked by the confluence of explosive growth in new data and analytic methods, interdisciplinary approaches, and a recognition that these ingredients are necessary to solve the more challenging problems facing our world. We discuss how developing a "lingua franca" can encourage more interdisciplinary research, providing two case studies (social networks and behavioral economics) to illustrate this theme. Several exemplar studies from the past 12 y are also provided. We conclude by addressing the challenges that accompany these positive trends, such as career incentives and the search for unifying frameworks, and associated best practices that can be employed in response.

Additional Information

© 2021 the Author(s). Published by PNAS. This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND). Edited by Matthew O. Jackson, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, and approved November 23, 2020 (received for review May 14, 2020). We thank Fred Blum, Jerry Davis, Jonathan Katz, Joseph Henrich, Philip Hoffman, Keri Leigh Merritt, Scott Page, Duncan Watts, our editor, and two anonymous referees for constructive comments and discussions. We thank the T&C Chen Center (Fellowships for M.G., A.B., support for C.F.C.), the Behavioral and Neuroeconomics Discovery Fund at Caltech and MacArthur Foundation (for C.F.C.), NSF Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences award 1851902 (supporting M.G., C.F.C.), NSF award 1851745 (for C.F.C.), and especially Trilience (for C.F.C.) for financial support for research on this topic. Data Availability: There are no data underlying this work. Author contributions: A.B. and C.F.C. designed research; A.B., M.G., and C.F.C. performed research; M.G. analyzed data; and A.B., M.G., and C.F.C. wrote the paper. The authors declare no competing interest. This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.

Attached Files

Published - e2002923118.full.pdf

Submitted - SSRN-id3486314.pdf


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August 22, 2023
October 23, 2023