Saturday, September 25, 2010

Favorite quote of the month

Oct. 11 will bring news of the latest winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize, endowed by the Bank of Sweden but branded as the “Nobel” prize in Economics Sciences.

As with previous years, there is betting on who will be this year’s winner. To me there is no obvious front-runner as there was last year with Oliver Williamson and his long-overdue prize.

Harvard Economist Greg Mankiw notes two places to find your pool of candidates: a list of top-cited academics (in all the Nobel fields) from Thomson-Reuters, and the REPEC ranking of most cited economists.

However, my favorite quote on the topic (and in fact on any topic this month) comes from Mizzou economist Peter Klein:

It is said that when the Nobel Prize in economics was first established, prizes were given for using economics to teach people things they didn’t already know, e.g., that economic growth might increase inequality, that depressions are caused by central banks, that macroeconomic stabilization policy doesn’t work, etc. Now, prizes are given to economists who teach other economists things that regular people already know — politicians are self-interested, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket, institutions matter, different people know different things, etc.
Ouch. How do you top that for cutting to the heart of the matter?

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