Challenges in Economics

  • Dirk Helbing
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


In the same way as the Hilbert Program was a response to the foundational crisis of mathematics [1], this article tries to formulate a research program for the socio-economic sciences. The aim of this contribution is to stimulate research in order to close serious knowledge gaps in mainstream economics that the recent financial and economic crisis has revealed. By identifying weak points of conventional approaches in economics, we identify the scientific problems which need to be addressed. We expect that solving these questions will bring scientists in a position to give better decision support and policy advice. We also indicate, what kinds of insights can be contributed by scientists from other research fields such as physics, biology, computer and social science. In order to make a quick progress and gain a systemic understanding of the whole interconnected socio-economic-environmental system, using the data, information and computer systems available today and in the near future, we suggest a multi-disciplinary collaboration as most promising research approach.


Public Good Financial Market Business Cycle Economic System Invisible Hand 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful for partial financial support by the ETH Competence Center “Coping with Crises in Complex Socio-Economic Systems” (CCSS) through ETH Research Grant CH1-01 08-2 and by the Future and Emerging Technologies programme FP7-COSI-ICT of the European Commission through the project Visioneer (grant no.: 248438). They would like to thank for feedbacks on the manuscript by Kenett Dror, Tobias Preis and Gabriele Tedeschi as well as for inspiring discussions during a Visioneer workshop in Zurich from January 13 to 15, 2010, involving, besides the authors, Stefano Battiston Guido Caldarelli, Anna Carbone, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Andreas Flache, Imre Kondor, Sergi Lozano, Thomas Maillart, Amin Mazloumian, Tamara Mihaljev, Alexander Mikhailov, Ryan Murphy, Carlos Perez Roca, Stefan Reimann, Aki-Hiro Sato, Christian Schneider, Piotr Swistak, Gabriele Tedeschi, and Jiang Wu. Last but not least, we are grateful to Didier Sornette, Frank Schweitzer and Lars-Erik Cederman for providing some requested references.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Helbing
    • 1
  1. 1.CLU E1ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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