Economists and Influence, A Depressing Take
By Arnold Kling
“If you bat .300, you’re going to win the National League [batting title]. But if you bat .100 as an economist in D.C., you’re going to go to the Hall of Fame.” So mused conservative economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin
He is referring to your ability to influence policy, not to the accuracy of your analysis.
The article focuses on the fact that Mitt Romney’s campaign positions are in conflict with the views of his top economic advisers. I would add that it’s not only Romney. My guess is that not one of Obama’s top economists was in favor of throwing Bowles-Simpson under the bus. My guess is that had they been consulted, the economists would have been pretty skeptical about the energy department loan guarantees to specific companies.
Prior to the current Administration, I would have told you that economists are taken more seriously by Democratic Presidents than by Republicans. (Being taken seriously means that you allow an economist to talk you out of doing something that is politically attractive.) Now, I think that economists are likely to bat less than .100 with either.
For example, Here is Greg Mankiw on tax reform. Although he is one of Mitt Romney’s advisers, and although his ideas have support among many Democratic economists as well, tax reform is an uphill battle.