Over at Bigthink there’s a list of brief statements from some economists describing what they see as the future direction of the science. Many of the comments focus on technological changes and it’s worth a read.
My own view is that as production factors become cheaper it becomes ever more important to have the best to differentiate oneself from one’s competitors. Cheap communications has made high-quality in-person communication ever more valuable and important over email and telephone calls. Likewise as the cost of data processing drops we’re going to see an increased premium on doing data analysis correctly, both in using the correct data and applying the correct analysis. I believe we’re going to see a “hollowing-out-the-middle” scenario between those who take data “as-is” and those who are familiar with its construction and quirks. The time to get on the right side of this divide is now.