This Big Think post by Ali Wyne asks eight young economists about the future of the subject. My favorite response was by Xavier Gabaix of NYU. He said:
The most central open question in economic theory, as I see it, is how to model realistic economic agents. Traditionally, economists have relied on the rational-actor model, but it is clear that it is just a rough caricature. It has been greatly enriched by behavioral economics in the past 30 years. Still, we are far from a unified, versatile, believable alternative to the rational-actor model. I am hopeful, though, that this might be overcome—in part because of progress in the sister disciplines (psychology and neuroscience) and basic modeling, and also because empirical anomalies are forcing the economic profession to be more open-minded. Contributions by computer scientists and physicists will help inject new perspectives into economics.
This theme of post-rational actor economics was pervasive in the eight responses, but I thought this one captured the idea best. Prof. Gabaix’s response goes on to explain how realistic models can inform policy.