From the 1950s to the 1980s economics was transformed methodologically. The ambition among leading economists was to elevate their academic discipline to something that resembled physics in methodological rigor. The transformation included the creation of the Swedish central bank's Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1968.
Disdainfully referring to good old political economy as "chit chat" and "opinionizing", the modern breed of economists built their entire professional existence around the formidability of econometrics. Regressions, it was said, could tell truth from falsehood and establish a system of laws in economics that would have the same reliability as the system of laws in physics.
Quantitative analysis is never wrong in social sciences - on the contrary, it is necessary to establish a bridge from theory to reality and, not to forget, in the other direction as well. But the difference between quantitative analysis in physics and in economics is that physics does not deal with matter that has a will of its own. The laws of classical mechanics, which stood model for the methodological transformation of economics, always apply - as opposed to laws of economics which apply only when individuals are motivated to act in accordance with them.