The World Bank has bigger problems than bad writing…

Paul Romer recently raised a storm over wanting World Bank econs to wrote better but got sidelined. I mean how can you teach “the econs” from “The Bank”? Romer should have known better.

Noah Smith says problems are deeper than writing:

A picture is beginning to emerge of global financial institutions that are too hidebound and conservative. Faced with changes in both the global economy and economists’ understanding of recessions, both the World Bank and the IMF have too often resisted change rather than embrace it. It’s worth wondering if the root of the problem comes from the culture of economics.

Economists are, in general, an insular and hierarchical bunch. They are used to having the quality and value of their work judged only by other economists. The outside world is expected to pay economists’ salaries and listen to their advice, but not to question the value of what they do. But when this ivory-tower approach is applied to real-world organizations, the result can be unacceptable institutional inertia.

Perhaps it was this insular culture, rather than just bad writing, that Romer had really intended to shake up. If so, the deck was stacked against him from the start. Making economists open up and engage with the wider world — and make themselves vulnerable to criticism by intelligent outsiders — may be a task too great even for a famous and brilliant individual like Romer.

Nice bit…

 

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