My first two university degrees were focused on decision sciences as applied to transport(ation) systems: traffic, public transportation, trains, corporate logistics and of course, at least in my case, airports and airlines. I have not really practiced the trade, except for policy analysis of EU transport policy. I used to say and I believed it that any transportation analyst/planner should spend some time working as a taxi driver. I have always been inspired by international (long haul) tracking as well. Maybe I should have practiced one of these two professions anyway. Maybe.
But my point, by some analogy, is that any economist should spent significant time living the life of "people in the streets" of economies such as the Greek economy in 2012 (the econ stats of which are, they say, comparable to the ones in the US during the great crash 80 years ago). How long for? I would say at least 4 months, maybe 6. Maybe even a year.