Thursday, February 9, 2012

What Do Economist Think About That?

Oscar Wilde once said "If you laid all the Economists in the world from head to toe, they still wouldn't reach a conclusion". I am not going to get into which economists Wilde may have been interested in laying,although Keynes was known to play for Wilde's team at times, if you know what I mean. What I am going to do is show you a place where you can find what an assortment of academic economists from the country's better universities think about various subjects in public policy.

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which has produced many great minds, such as those of Art Matin and Steve Ross, has a project called the Initiative on Global Markets, or IGM Forum for short. They have assembled a panel of Economists who blog about various subjects. They also regularly poll the panel on various subjects of public policy. You can find their web site HERE. If you go to the tab that says Economics Experts Panel you will find a list of questions, and the data on whether this group agrees or disagrees with a statement. Below that you can see how each member voted, and some often amusing comments.

Bored yet? Yes, I'm an Econ geek but I found this fascinating. I think if Mr. Wilde were around today he would find it surprising, as these folks seem to be in agreement on a lot of topics. They hate the idea of returning to the gold standard, and they hate the war on drugs. They think China is keeping it's currency undervalued. They think taxing things that we'd like less of, like traffic congestion and carbon, is a far better way to approach the problem than a bunch of rules. In fact, there are few things on the list on which there was a great deal of disagreement. Too bad Hakek and Keynes aren't alive to create a lively argument.

The panel they have seems to fairly represent the conservative schools like Chicago and Stanford, and the liberal ones like Harvard. It's a small but distinguished group.

The question now is, why are you still reading this. I gave you a link to a fabulous source of interesting information. Go check it out. It may change the way you think about things.

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