Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Not qualified

An interesting article by Gregory Clark on the post-crisis status of macroeconomics includes the following money quote:

Recently a group of economists affiliated with the Cato Institute ran an ad in The New York Times opposing the Obama’s [sic] stimulus plan. As chair of my department, I tried to arrange a public debate between one of the signatories and a proponent of fiscal stimulus — thinking that would be a timely and lively session. But the signatory, a fully accredited university macroeconomist, declined the opportunity for public defense of his position on the grounds that “all I know on this issue I got from Greg Mankiw’s blog; I really am not equipped to debate this with anyone.”

A fully accredited university macroeconomist is not equipped to debate the defining macroeconomic issue of our generation? Sad, but all too believable. Perhaps it’s time to rethink the necessary credentials.

--Justin Wolfers, Freakonomics blog, on my profession caught with its pants down


UPDATE:

Various bloggers have quoted this story as evidence for the sad state of the economics profession. My interpretation is more benign: The chairman of the department asks a professor to do something, the professor is busy and doesn't really want to do it, so he blows off the chairman with a tongue-in-cheek quip.

--Greg Mankiw on a more charitable interpretation

No comments: