By Arnold Kling
Pete Boettke wants to see Economics with Attitude.
I have often asked job candidates what the wildest hypothesis related to their research in economics and political economy that they want to pursue would be.
Here are some of my ideas that are on the edge.1. The idea that the Fed has little influence.
2. The idea that economic growth is determined by ethics.
3. The idea that parents are in Status-seeking mode with regard to their childrens’ education. Affluent parents are so strongly averse to having their children go to school with other children who are not affluent, particularly in college, leads to “segregation equilibrium,” in which high-priced colleges, private schools, and neighborhoods are desired in part because they are high-priced.
4. The idea that the reason that health insurance is coming unraveled is that people don’t really want health insurance.
5. The idea that in academia the insulation provided by tenure is a factor in the predominance of leftwing beliefs. Those of us outside academia understand that there is a trade-off between security and autonomy–the jobs that offer the greates security typically involve working for a boss in a relatively structured environment. Tenured professors do not appreciate this real-world trade-off. Entrepreneurship is alien to them.
6. The Great Depression may have been a major restructuring of the economy.
7. George Lakoff’s central theme, in Moral Politics is correct. Conservatives do think of government as a strict-father parent, and liberals think of government as a nurturant parent. However, neither metaphor is healthy. Government should not be viewed as a parent. It should be treated as an institutional arrangement.
8. People have an irrational hatred of economic insights.