I have said this before, but I think the work that Deirdre McCloskey has done for the past 50 years or so merits the profession's top award, the Nobel Prize in Economics. McCloskey is a renaissance person, incorporating a rich understanding of history, literature, culture, sociology, the arts, philosophy, mathematics, and economics into her work. Further, she has done a superb job of pillorying the empty mathematics that fills too many pages of too many economics journals. She has a sense of relevance, and she has a long-term view of the importance of institutions, culture, and price systems. For example, see this, which I wrote in 2004, when I first started blogging. A quote from her in that piece:
"Most of what appears in the best journals of economics is unscientific rubbish. I find this unspeakably sad. All my friends, my dear, dear friends in economics have been wasting their time. You can see why I'm agitated about the Two Sins [oversimplified, these are: qualitative theory with no questions about 'how much?' and quantitative tests of significance that don't include loss functions -- but read the whole piece!]. They are vigorous, difficult, demanding activities, like hard chess problems. But they are worthless as science."
My impression is that things are slowly changing in the profession. Very slowly and too slowly.
I'm looking forward to meeting her this weekend. It's too bad we didn't quite overlap at Chicago in the late 60s.
Addendum: to read her biographies (formal and informal) see this page.