Which economists/blogs/thinkers do economists prefer?

William Davis, Bob Figgins, David Hedengren and Daniel Klein of compile this nice poll of economists by economists.

A sample of 299 U.S. economics professors, presumably random, responded to our survey which asked favorites in the following areas: Economic thinkers (pre-twentieth century, twentieth century now deceased, living age 60 or older, living under age 60), economics journals, and economics blogs.

The sample questionnaire is sent to 1969 economists across 300 econ departments but response is from just 299 econs. This could bias the findings. But one should not expect much changes as answers are mostly in line with what one would expect.

Importantly, the authors also rank the voting preference of economists and calculate their libertarian approach to understand the voting pattern. So say which kind of econs prefer Adam Smith – Democrats or Republicans? Libertarians or paternalistic? This has become very important because of the crisis where economists are accused of supporting political parties’ views.

Results are:

Favorite Pre-Twentieth Century economists – Smith, Ricardo and Marshall

We see that the admirers of Adam Smith—221 of the entire sample of 299—have a party ratio of 2.0, which is only a little below the sample average of 2.23, and an average liberalism score of 2.36 which is only slightly above the sample mean of 2.27. It is unsurprising that the admirers of Karl Marx are more Democratic and less liberal.

Favorite Twentieth-Century economists, deceased – Keynes, Friedman and Samuelson

Of those with at least 10 mentions, we see that most liberal admirers are those of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, and the least liberal admirers are those of John K. Galbraith, Joan Robinson, and Thorstein Veblen.

Favorite Living economists Age 60 or Older – Becker, Arrow and Solow

Of those with at least 14 mentions (the next position drops to nine mentions), we see that the most liberal admirers are those of James Buchanan, Ronald Coase, Douglass North, and Robert Lucas, and the least liberal admirers are those of Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz, and George Akerlof.


Favorite Living economists under Age 60 – Krugman, Mankiw and Acemoglu

The top 17 under-60 living economists are shown in Figure 4, and the top 23 under-60 living economists are listed in Table 6, along with associated party-voting and liberalism scores. Paul Krugman leads by a long ways.


Economics Professors’ Favorite Economics Journals – AER, Journal of Eco Perspectives and Journal of Political Economy

Economics Professors’ Favorite Economics Blogs – Mankiw, Marginal Revolution and Krugman. Out of 299 respondents only 133 read blogs. So again the sample is much smaller.

Of those with at least 11 mentions, we see that most liberal admirers are those of EconLog, Becker-Posner, and Marginal Revolution, and the least liberal admirers are those of J. Bradford DeLong and Paul Krugman (also, again we see that Krugman admirers are remarkably preponderantly Democratic).

Table 9 compares economists who read blogs and those who do not. We were surprised to find that the readers of blogs are older than the non-readers. They are also more liberal.

Nice quick read paper…










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