We offer a summary of the 150-year effort in econometrics to find “economic structure” from our data. Methods used in data collection play an essential role in understanding this struggle. We discuss experimental and observational methods agricultural economists have used in their attempts to find economic structure, as well as time series methods used to generate forecasts. We suggest that a future of forecasting competitions amongst researchers find a prominent place in our professional journals.

JEL classifications: C9, C18, Q11