By Bryan Caplan
Imagine that economists were surveyed and had to choose how they’d best like to describe economic policy recommendations, as:
- Morals – Arguing for the morality of actions,
- Deals – Helping groups find and make deals, or
- Showing Off – Academics do hard things in order to
be certified by other academics as impressive, so that students,
patrons, and readers can gain status by affiliation with them. Economic
policy analysis is such a hard thing.
I’d bet that at least 25% would choose option #2, and even more among those whose style leans sci/tech.
With those three options, I’d expect the breakdown to be roughly 15% morals, 80% deals, and 5% showing off. But that’s just because Robin omits two popular response options:
4. Social Welfare – Identifying the policies that are best for society as a whole.
5. Smart Partisanship – Identifying the most efficient way to advance the political goals you identify with.
With these extra options on the table, I’d bet on a breakdown of 5% morals (which sounds medieval to most economists), 20% deals, 5% showing off, 50% social welfare, and 20% smart partisanship. Do you disagree, Robin?
P.S. Maybe we could get this on the next Kauffman bloggers’ survey?