Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Discussion Group: The Role of Economists

There will be no reading for this week. We are going to discuss the role of economists in the political sphere. Economists have some special knowledge that is useful to voters and policy makers, but how should this knowledge be shared? Think about these three possible roles for economists:

Prescriptive advice - suggesting policies for maximizing utility, in addition to or in opposition of current policy goals.
Efficiency experts - not judging policy goals, but offering economics as a way of more efficiently achieving those goals.
Critics - "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design" -Friedrich Hayek

Do you think one of these roles is better than others? Can you imagine a different role for economists to play? Think about what roles popular economists have been playing in the most recent election.

As always the discussion group will be held in Enterprise 318.

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