Friday, July 19, 2013

Noah Smith and George Selgin tell us what many of us already know...

Here and here.

Ideology and politics has little to do with most economists' thinking. We do what we do because we get excited about understanding how the world works.

With the exception of libertarian economists, who seem to be quite emphatic, I've also observed that when economists are political they're more moderated. Our left is really what in the nation at large would be thought of as center-left. Our right is what in the nation at large would be thought of as center-right.

In any case if a given economist is political it seems fairly ancillary to their economics.

I don't get invested in politics personally, although there are several policy areas where I'm pretty invested. And in those cases I find myself pretty unimpressed with the politicians involved. In other words, as a political matter I'm sort of a moderate center-left guy - not deeply invested - but I voted for Obama and I've voted for a mix of Republicans and Democrats at the state level. But Obama has never been deeply impressive to me on a policy level. I simply think he was the better option (all three times I voted for him - primary and two elections), and he's a decent guy. But that's all.


  1. I can understand conservative economists favoring monetary over fiscal policy but I can't understand them being against both. I can understand the practice of remaining silent against bad political policies, however lamentable, but I can't see defending them or failing to support good ones. Where would you place Taylor for example?

  2. I just asked Dr. Henderson if he knew what Selgin's political philosophy is. Selgin popped in and basically said that he doesn't like to be pinned down to anything in particular, that he doesn't mind being called a classical liberal, but that he doesn't think that that is entirely accurate. Anyhow, this article is sort of interesting in light of that exchange.

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  4. Don't forget the politics embedded in assumptions and language.


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