Are Economists Captured?
Are academic economists captured by special interests? Or are they 'pure' scientists in that they are free to say whatever they want? The 2008 Financial Crisis raised questions about the independence of economists - see, for example, the movie Inside Job - see trailer below. Luigi Zingales of Chicago has recently published a working paper entitled "Preventing Economists' Capture" (hat tip - Graham Brownlow). The paper's abstract is:
The very same forces that induce economists to conclude that regulators are captured should lead us to conclude that the economic profession is captured as well. As evidence of this capture, I show that papers whose conclusions are pro-management are more likely to be published in economic journals and more likely to be cited. I also show that business schools faculty write papers that are more pro management. I highlight possible remedies to reduce the extent of this capture: from a reform of the publication process, to an enhanced data disclosure, from a stronger theoretical foundation to a mechanism of peer pressure. Ultimately, the most important remedy, however, is awareness, an awareness most economists still do not have.