A Great Example of How Anonymous Economists Are

Even Nobel Laureate economists suffer from lack of name recognition.

The latest example: Ezra Klein, a frequent writer on the subject of economics, headlined a blog post about the most recent Nobel Laureate on his Washington Post website:

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The only problem is that the Nobel Laureate’s first name is Peter, not Larry.

(The mistake on Ezra Klein’s blog has been corrected.)


Drill-Baby-Drill Drill Team

Pure Economists are academics. And they may have an audience of 100 or 1000 fellow economists when they publish in their highly specialized math treatises in their academic journals. Would you know of any psychologist or geologist at your local university?

Paul Krugman is a well known Nobel Ecomomist. Perhaps it is not because he is a Princeton Professor, but rather because he is a columnist for the NY Times. The Nobel Prize, Ivy league Professorship and $4.25 will get you a mochachino at Starbucks.

But I would rather be CORRECT than award winning. Hows come none could predict the High Tech Bubble, Housing Bubble, Financial Bubble, Insurance Bubble. Automobile Bubble and Credit Card Bubble?

I would like to see the Nostrodamus Prize for being able to predict and forecast the future. Here is one prediction: This is the Chinese Century---and I do not see any economist predicting this risky belief.

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Vic

You bring up a good point. I mean who's the Michael Jordan of Economics? Maybe that will be you someday Steven.

pablo

To be fair, intellectuals are just not famous. It's not as if science journalism is respectable, for instance.

Thierry

Well, the title contains at least one other mistake: the "Economy Nobel prize" isn't a Nobel prize, no matter how much economists would like us to believe that ;-)

Jorge

Perhaps Ezra can't stop thinking about Larry Summers...

Jim

There is a web page maintained by the UConn Department of Economics ranking economists. It is interactive and customizable. Using the default settings, Andrei Shleifer is currently the Michael Jordan of the field, with Joseph Stiglitz a close second. See:
http://ideas.repec.org/top/top.person.all.html
BTW, Steven comes out ahead of one of this year's laureates in the rankings!

John

Drill-baby-drill team. Krugman predicted the housing bubble in 2002 and was regularly savaged by right-wingnuts in the blogosphere for it. It's a bit early to tell if the coming century will be the "chinese century" or not. You can't walk down the sidewalk in a major Chinese city without first pushing the air out of the way. As respiratory and other diseases caused by their toxic environment (a Republican's dream environment) catch up with them their health care costs will explode. Although they are building lots of shiny new buildings the quality of the plumbing in these buildings is substandard. Little else will age a new building as rapidly as unchecked plumbing leaks which are the rule rather than the exception in China. Moreover they have a long way to go just to lift themselves out of poverty. Just as an example: I saw members of the Chinese army kneeling down washing military uniforms in irrigation ditches. Hopefully they will try to improve their environmental standards as well as the quality of their workmanship but I wouldn't bank on it happening any time soon.

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Joe

perhaps academic economists aren't that widely read, but other scientists suffering from the same problem still manage to get household recognition. Most laypeople have heard of Einstein's theory of relativity and Darwin's theory of evolution without reading any of their works, scholarly or otherwise. why isn't there Einstein or Darwin of economists?

Manu

It's funny how you'd make a blog post out of this mistake, when you've made far more serious mistakes (like claiming Honduras is in South America in one of your posts...)

Buck

joe...ummm Milton Friedman, Adam Smith, Greenspane, Richardo (for people in SA), um Mankiw, some guy named Krugman, anyone...Ben Stein.....hosts of other guys and gals currently in the public eye...

Emmi

Maybe she was a Seinfeld fan.