The economics of Brat

by on June 11, 2014 at 12:02 am in Current Affairs, Economics, Political Science | Permalink

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor just lost a historic primary race — to an economist. Prof. David Brat chairs the Department of Business and Economics at Randolph-Macon College, a liberal arts school in Ashland, Virginia. Vox read over some of his academic research, and it helps give you a sense of what the politician at the center of tonight’s political earthquake believes.

…take Brat’s paper “Economic Growth and Institutions: The Rise and Fall of the Protestant Ethic?” Here, Brat makes the argument (amusingly citing the liberal economist Brad DeLong) that the spread of Protestantism in Europe was a key cause of European nations being wealthier than other countries. “Give me a country in 1600 that had a Protestant led contest for religious and political power,” he writes, “and I will show you a country that is rich today.”

In “Cross-Country R&D and Growth: Variations on a Theme of Mankiw-Romer-Weil,” Brat and a co-author argue that countries with stronger domestic research and development bases are likely to be wealthier (though research spilling over from one country to another can narrow the gap). In a second co-authored paper, he suggested that countries that remain democracies for longer periods of time tend to experience somewhat higher levels of economic growth.

Brat also seems to be a fan of Deirdre McCloskey on economic method.  The full story is here.

1 Zac Gochenour June 11, 2014 at 12:06 am

While I was initially happy to see an economics professor had unseated a powerful Washington career politician, unfortunately it seems Brat won on an economically illiterate anti-immigrant platform, appealing to the worst in populist biases. Same old.

2 Cahokia June 11, 2014 at 12:14 am

How, pray tell, does that constitute the “same old” considering we’ve had an open immigration policy for 49 years?

3 Daniel June 11, 2014 at 2:00 am

we’ve had an open immigration policy for 49 years

You must not live on the same planet as the rest of us. But hey, I guess it takes time to inform yourself before deciding to speak.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

4 Z June 11, 2014 at 7:07 am

Someone with even a flicker of curiosity would subtract 49 from 2014 and wonder what it means. But that’s not you. The hive mind is never curious about that vast ocean of things about which they know nothing.

5 careless June 11, 2014 at 9:03 am

Why? It’s obviously not true.

Also, lolCantor

6 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 9:24 am

It’s ‘obviously not true’ if you understand ‘open immigration policy’ to mean no formal controls. We have had something akin to no functional controls on Mexican immigration since 1965. As for the remainder, we’ve had a quadrupling of settlers’ visa distributed each year in the context of haphazard enforcement. The more politically minded among the open-borders crowd like it this way. Those with less of an advertiser’s sense (B. Caplan) want open borders and are quite plain about wishing to eliminate the country as a social and cultural entity.

7 Chip June 11, 2014 at 12:31 am

Ok, I’ll bite.

How has the arrival of millions of rural poor into a stagnant economy and entitlement state helped benefit places like California?

And how does it look in the future as automation erases low skilled jobs from the economy?

Surely you’ve thought about this since you’re so literate and all.

Finally, one must note the irony of “immigration reform” that has acted as an incentive to increase the arrival of illegals.

8 John Cummings June 11, 2014 at 1:38 am

Sorry, but the rich power immigration. If you expose them, so do, go the immigrants that are purely day labor.

We have tried for 15 years to police it and it doesn’t work. They still slip them in. Stop them for awhile, they pop right back up next week.

9 ivar June 11, 2014 at 2:32 am

Nonsense. You just mean the current methods haven’t worked. How about the following: Deny benefits to all illegals, severely penalize any firms or universities hiring or accepting illegals, and give rewards to whistle blowers who identify those in violation? And in addition, adopt the immigration rules of Canada and Australia which do not favor family reunification and give points for high education.

I am willing to bet such rules if applied and enforced by the Feds would substantially change the flow of legal and illegal immigration. You won’t like it of course, but I bet a lot of money it would change many things.

10 Daniel June 11, 2014 at 3:06 am

So I take it you see living in a police state a price worth paying if we’re to keep those subhuman “illegals” out.

11 P June 11, 2014 at 3:23 am

A police state like Canada and Australia?

12 Andao June 11, 2014 at 4:41 am

Poor, uneducated immigrants never make anything of themselves?

Or is the history of the US just a bunch of lucky coincidences?

13 prior_approval June 11, 2014 at 5:34 am

‘A police state like Canada and Australia?’

Why, just look at how they treat gun ownership – I’ve been reliably informed by commenters here that the right to own a firearm defines how free a society is. In which case, the Canadians have a lot of catching up to do in matching American style firepower being deployed in daily life.

And the Australians, having essentially forbidden any casual private ownership of a firearm, obviously are living in a police state. At least, when using the freedom to mass murder metric – the Australians have managed to go 12 years without a mass murder involving firearms, while having their firearm involved suicide rate decline from 22% in 1992 to 7% of all suicides in 2005.

14 Andrew' June 11, 2014 at 7:00 am

Serious question: why do you think the fraction of suicides using guns is a relevant indicator for anyone who isn’t ideologically anti-gun?

15 prior_approval June 11, 2014 at 8:41 am

‘Serious question: why do you think the fraction of suicides using guns is a relevant indicator for anyone who isn’t ideologically anti-gun?’

Because in the case of the Australia police state, it shows just how thoroughly the state has been able to remove firearms from the hands of citizens, using a fairly consistent and hard to dispute data point. In this particular case, just another empirically based metric of how thoroughly controlled guns are in the oppressed hell that is Australia.

That American firearm owners accept the reality that the single largest group of people killed by firearms in America are those using firearms to kill themselves is another example of why American freedom seems so hard to understand from the outside. A freedom that the Australian police state has consistently rejected for almost a generation now, apparently with the continuing support of its citizens. Obviously showing that the Australian police state has found some method to convince its citizens that guns are primarily designed to kill, and that its citizens have no right to kill themselves or others using firearms.

16 Chip June 11, 2014 at 8:52 am

Most immigration to Canada is family. Only 18% is the actual skilled worker, and even they have trouble finding work.

Turns out bureaucrats aren’t very good at matching immigrants degrees and skills with employers.

I pay particular attention to California because I often consider emigrating there an investor immigrant. But I can’t pull the trigger because the state’s finances and demographics scare me. I really don’t know where this state will be in 10 years, when my kids come of age.

17 Andrew' June 11, 2014 at 9:03 am


I seriously didn’t expect logic, but I always hold out hope.

To reduce the rate of suicide for the vast majority of people on the planet, you could bring them to the United States and had them a gun when they walk off the boat.

That is how strong the gun variable is in causing suicides.

18 Chris S June 11, 2014 at 9:04 am

Yes, just like the war on drugs.

19 Andrew' June 11, 2014 at 9:18 am

According to Alex, who you interestingly can’t even bring yourself to compliment for doing groundbreaking work on the subject, the bottom line is this:

“If more guns lead to more suicides, should we ban guns as Australia did? Not necessarily. We find that a 1 percentage-point increase in the household gun-ownership rate increases suicides by at most 0.9 percent. There are 114 million households in the U.S., so a 1 percentage-point increase in ownership means approximately 1.1 million more households with guns. Since there are relatively few suicides, this translates into 345 more suicides, at most. In this sense, guns are relatively benign. Most guns are never involved in a suicide or a homicide.”

The reality is that the research implies that the actual solution is to identify bi-polar people and for public health to invest in measures such as paying parents of bi-polar teens to secure their firearms. Taking away the rights of 80 Million fire-arm owners to prevent a few thousand suicides would be the kind of thinking any bonified police state would appreciate and incipient police states would aspire to, even if they still do other window-dressing liberalish things like ban burkas or pat themselves on the back for eliminating the death penalty.

20 prior_approval June 11, 2014 at 9:45 am

‘To reduce the rate of suicide for the vast majority of people on the planet, you could bring them to the United States and had them a gun when they walk off the boat.’

And if they walked off a boat in Australia (no need to have them be handed a gun, as the Australian police state would not allow that), they would be better off than if they got off the boat in the U.S. The same would apply if they walked off a boat in Germany or Canada – places not quite as dedicated to police state tactices in reducing gun ownership, it must be noted.

Admittedly, the logic of your statement is not apparent to me. Maybe everybody should get off that (figurative) boat in Nepal ( )? Though it seems Nepal has gun laws even more strict than Australia –

21 prior_approval June 11, 2014 at 9:57 am

‘According to Alex, who you interestingly can’t even bring yourself to compliment for doing groundbreaking work on the subject’

Well, the holder of the Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center, who just secondarily happens to be an associate professor of economics at George Mason University is not exceedingly interested in my commenting.

However, this seems to the sort of bump that some people find just a bit too hard to ignore – ‘Since there are relatively few suicides, this translates into 345 more suicides, at most. In this sense, guns are relatively benign. Most guns are never involved in a suicide or a homicide.”’

I’m trying to imagine in what other part of American society we would accept the idea that an additional 345 deaths per year is ‘relatively benign.’ But admittedly, I’m a bit out of touch – maybe you can suggest a few other areas where American society thinks the preventable, at least according to Prof. Tabarrok’s work, deaths of 345 people per year is ‘relatively benign?’

22 enoriverbend June 11, 2014 at 10:31 am

prior_approval is smart to keep restricting his Australian comments carefully (“when using the freedom to mass murder metric – the Australians have managed to go 12 years without a mass murder involving firearms”) without noting that alternative means are readily available. Since the 1996 National Firearm Agreement:

Childers Palace arson — 15 dead
Churchill fires — 10 dead
Quakers Hill arson – 11 dead

23 The Original D June 11, 2014 at 10:43 am

“A police state like Canada and Australia?”

One is surrounded by ocean, which is rather difficult to walk across, and the other has a giant, economically attractive buffer state between it an Mexico.

24 prior:_approval June 11, 2014 at 11:13 am

‘without noting that alternative means are readily available’

Such as those employed by Ivan Milat, who may have killed more than 30 people? –

Or those involving the deaths of 36 people? – (Admittedly, the means of death tended to be firearms, but arson, ‘bashing,’ and car bombing were also involved) This would prove the idea that if guns are outlawed, only outlaws would use guns, by the way. Against themselves, mainly, but still.

Then there is the Snowdon murders – for those interested in details (firearms seem to have played no role), this gives a good overview –

Mass murder existed before the invention of firearms, and will continue exist after something more efficient than firearms is invented (such as flying an airplane into a building, for example).

Restricting gun ownership as severely as the Australian police state will only result, seemingly, in a reduction in mass murder by firearms. Other forms of murder involving significant numbers of victims will continue, of course.

25 Andrew' June 11, 2014 at 11:26 am

Australia is a little better on suicide rates, which is why you cherry-pick them, but I’d bet after controlling for some basic things like sunshine the difference probably completely disappears.

26 Andrew' June 11, 2014 at 11:40 am

Not to mention Australian suicide rates haven’t really changed that much after whatever you think they did about guns.

So, again, aside from the agenda of criminalizing gun ownership, I don’t get the singling out of particular suicide method and some random country’s unsupported actions against it as anything other than begging the question.

27 Floccina June 11, 2014 at 11:44 am

Why put the burden on firms. They are not the police, how are they supposed to know that someone with a fake ID is illegal?

28 prior_approval June 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm

‘Not to mention Australian suicide rates haven’t really changed that much after whatever you think they did about guns.’

I know what they did about guns – pretty much outlawed them for anyone who could not demonstrate a reason to own them, in typical police state fashion.

As for the suicide rates changing – complicated picture, to put it mildly. But then, the other country with an equally harsh ban of personal firearm ownership following a horrific mass murder ( ) is the UK – has a still a lower suicide rate.

However, if you can find a single example where suicide rates increased after firearm ownership was restricted, please share it. The only examples I know of – in the U.S., in NJ/NY, UK, and Australia, using reliable statistics show either a decline in suicide, or at worst, a similar rate in the years following the police state implemenation of gun ownership restriction, as in Australia or the UK (as if Australia is unique in the English speaking world, after all).

29 Brandon June 11, 2014 at 3:02 pm

“severely penalize any firms or universities hiring or accepting illegals”

And now firms and universities have a pretty strong incentive to be adverse about hiring or accepting any immigrants or people who look/sound like they might be immigrants because even if they try to verify legal status in good faith, they can get it wrong and then be severely penalized for it.

30 roadrunner June 11, 2014 at 10:27 pm

My state NJ is considering legislation to authorize suicide after getting a terminal diagnosis. Tell me again why I should get worked up about suicide rates?

My anecdotal view is that firearm suicides are mostly adult men in two categories: elderly men making a rational decision, and troubled young men. IMO the former cannot and should not be stopped. The latter need to be reinstitutionalized.

31 Willitts June 12, 2014 at 2:55 am

South Koreans manage to kill themselves at a much higher rate than the US with some of the strictest anti-gun laws in the world.

Suicide is a mental and social concern, not a gun problem.

32 So Much for Subtlety June 11, 2014 at 12:34 am

How is his anti-immigrant platform economically illiterate?

He seems to point out that Protestant values are closely linked to economic development. Which is obvious. It follows that allowing non-Protestants into the country is not going to have a positive outcome unless there is a whole lot of assimilation going on. Although he does ignore the fact that Black Protestant countries are still dirt poor. And hence Detroit.

33 John Cummings June 11, 2014 at 1:36 am

His problem is living a fantasy which makes the wealthy, wealthier and the poor poorer.

Machines built up Capitalism and the lack of new innovation will kill it. The party is over and Brat is still a Brat.

34 careless June 11, 2014 at 9:05 am

Wealthy wealthier and poor poorer sounds like the open borders plan.

35 Jan June 11, 2014 at 6:37 am

Yeah, Detroit is bankrupt because it is a black Protestant city. Same for:
— City of San Bernardino, Calif.
— City of Stockton, Calif.
— Jefferson County, Ala.
— City of Central Falls, R.I.

Right? Oh…

36 Chris S June 11, 2014 at 9:00 am

To be fair, the original post did say “Country in 1600” not “city in 1970”

37 So Much for Subtlety June 11, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Stockton is 22% White Non-Hispanic. Down from 60% in 1980. Jefferson county was perfectly functional when it was majority White. It has had one of the most amusing set of Black politicians in recent times. Central Falls is almost majority Hispanic. San Bernardino is about 25% White and 60% Hispanic. How do you think any of these disprove my point? Are any of them not in fact majority-minority cities?

I don’t think Detroit is bankrupt because it is a Black Protestant city. I think it is bankrupt because it had a government that consciously and deliberately set out to oppose White Anglo-Saxon Protestant values.

38 Chris S June 11, 2014 at 9:04 am

Detroit is not a country.

The seeds of Detroit’s destruction were sown in the 1920s by the same forces that led to its downfall: an overwhelming dependence on a single industry.

[Insert your favorite politician here] could have taken over the city in 1970 and it would still have less than 50% of the residents it had at peak in 1950, for which the operations were sized; and be struggling. The difference would be in degree, not in direction.

39 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 9:39 am

There are 4 million people resident in the densely settled portions of Wayne, Macomb, Oakland, and Washtenaw counties. The personal income per capita of this area is just 3.5% below the national mean, 6.5% below the metropolitan mean and higher than the rest of Michigan. The homicide rate outside the Detroit municipality is 2.4 per 100,000 (i.e. about what you’d expect of a suburban zone). About 13% of the local domestic product is to be found in durable goods manufacture. They’re not that overspecialized and, in aggregate, they’re not that badly off.

Imagine in some other metropolis you drew a line around the slum neighborhoods and incorporated a municipality to provide services and policing to just that area. Intra-metropolitan migration has in greater Detroit given you just that (along with an abnormally predatory and incompetent corps of slum politicians). About 82% of the population of greater Detroit does not live in the central city and is not peculiarly distressed.

40 Z June 11, 2014 at 9:45 am

Yet Pittsburgh had those same seeds sewn in the same era. Those seeds sprouted, blossomed and died concurrently with those of Detroit. Today, Pittsburgh is one of the trendiest cities on the East Coast. It is flourishing, even though is was dependent on a single industry that died in the 1970’s.

Maybe it is something else.

41 dead serious June 11, 2014 at 11:42 am

Pittsburgh is on the east coast. I learn something new every day.

Predicted response: something something hive something something.

42 Mondfledermaus June 11, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Philadelphia is in the East Coast, Pittsburgh is in the Midwest, in the middle is Alabama.

Besides they say pop instead of soda in Pittsburgh. Midwest.

43 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Z must be from California. Pittsburgh’s Rustbelt and borderline Appalachia. The East Coast cities did not get hit the way the Rustbelt did.

44 Z June 11, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Meh, it is hardly the point and that should be obvious.

45 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 9:52 am

I grew up in the Genesee Valley. In 1980, 13% of the local workforce was employed by one company, Eastman Kodak. The share was higher in Rochester and the tract suburbs around it. Eastman Kodak shed 89% of its workforce over the following 30 years and has been in bankruptcy proceedings of late. Rochester could be in better shape, but it’s not a post-industrial hell hole. The central city is 30% slum, not 90% slum. Local pols like William Johnson did not have much interest in innovative policing, so nothing improved the way it did in New York City. They’ve been conventional inner-city pols who saw their jobs as orderly management of decline and could-we-have-some-more-federal-money pretty please. They were not actively destructive of civic life the way Coleman Young was.

46 Z June 11, 2014 at 11:11 am

Throughout New England company towns experienced the same economic headwinds. None of them turned into hyper-violent war zones. Insisting the people of Detroit have no agency of their own, as the Left insists, is an explanation, but not one the Left seems to understand. But, maybe the alternative is so unthinkable they have to go with what they have.

47 Floccina June 11, 2014 at 11:47 am

Atlanta is doing fine, so mostly likely the decline of the auto industry.

48 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 12:08 pm


49 Floccina June 11, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Atlanta is 54% black and is doing well so Detroit most likely went down due to the decline in the auto sector.

50 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Please remark the metrics noted above. The decline of heavy industry has been pervasive throughout the Rustbelt, and greater Detroit did not see the worst of it. (Relative losses were worse around Buffalo, for example). Mostly what you get is a generation of demographic stagnation and a loss of relative position. By way of example, personal incomes in the Genesee Valley were 12% above national means in 1969 and then were 5% below national means in 2007. (The national means were a good deal higher the latter date, of course). Population in the Genesee Valley has seen only modest changes in 30-odd years – perhaps a 5% increase all told. Western New York has seen a 7% decline. Greater Detroit’s not badly off all told. The central city is badly off.

Did it ever occur to you that the quality of the political class may be higher in Atlanta than in Detroit?

51 So Much for Subtlety June 11, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Floccina June 11, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Atlanta is 54% black and is doing well so Detroit most likely went down due to the decline in the auto sector.

That depends on what you mean by doing fine. I think that Atlanta inherited a Good Ole Boy network that meant big companies bought Black politicians as they used to buy White ones. That has limited the insanity of the political class.

But doing fine? Atlanta’s schools have collapsed. They are famous for the cheating scandal. Teaching children, it seems, is asking too much. Cheating on the tests was much easier.

52 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Just to point out the Atlanta municipality comprehends just 10% of greater Atlanta. Greater Atlanta is a gelatinous urban blob which consumes three counties, nearly consumes two others, and includes snatches of a dozen others.

53 Steve Sailer June 11, 2014 at 9:18 pm

A major theme of Tom Wolfe’s “A Man in Full” is that Atlanta’s white business elite and its mostly bourgeois black political elite have a relationship that is mutually beneficial and fairly functional. Contrast that with the black political animosity recounted in Zev Chafetz’s history of Detroit’s decline, “Devil’s Night.”

So, local political choices and culture do matter.

54 Art Deco June 12, 2014 at 10:28 am

If Detroit had elected Richard Austin as Mayor in 1969 rather than Coleman Young in 1973, things might have turned out differently. All three mayors who held office between 1957 and 1974 were lawyers; Austin was an accountant who at least was not foreign to the business world and sufficiently congenial that he could and did win statewide elections in Michigan. As Austin was black, Young’s racialist appeal would have been buffered and Austin might have had the sense not to turn the police force into a patronage dump cum paper pushing apparat. Austin lost in 1969 by just a rasher. Contingencies.

55 Willitts June 12, 2014 at 3:01 am

Political leaders are endogenous to the attitudes of the voters, especially at the municipal level. The thought experiment of a coup by a [insert your favorite politician here] is invalid. Detroit got the leaders and policies and results it deserved.

Cities like San Francisco thrive despite their poor leadership, not because of it. All that is wrong with that city is directly attributed to its poor policies. All that is right is a result of the publuc goods that were not created by policy.

56 Art Deco June 12, 2014 at 10:21 am

Detroit got the political leadership which emerged from the competition between members of the population subset interested in public affairs. The public at large is the matrix within which these characters operate. The public in Detroit tolerates a great deal that others would not and the architecture of political institutions (at-large and first-past-the-post) tends to muzzle dissenting voices. The thing is, if nothing emerges on the supply side, the tolerating public do not have better choices.

You need to look at what’s going on on the supply side as well as the demand side. On the demand side, you had a secular decline in the quality of the electorate as working class people (of various hues) who had options and wanted the options left following on the departing bourgeoisie (of various hues, but predominantly caucasian). You had an increasingly slum electorate that was relatively easy meat for racial demagogues whose interests did not include retaining human capital within city limits.

Now look at your supply side. None of the mayors who held office between 1957 and 2009 had a business background. Look who ran. There was a salesman who ran for mayor in 1965 and several accountants who ran over the period running from 1969 to 1989 (two public sector, two private sector). Other than that, for the entire period between about 1957 and 2005 you see a long string of lawyers (almost all hack lawyers) and city employees. The most salient political figure of the era was Coleman Young, a snide crypto-Communist labor meathead.

57 Cliff June 11, 2014 at 12:37 am

You know, I bet if we just let every African move to the U.S., those former Africans would be a lot better off then they were before… for a while.

58 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 8:42 am

“Economically illiterate” means Brat recognizes the posited welfare benefits from immigration are (a) small and (b) have unfortunate distributional consequences. “Worst populist biases” means he’s biased towards ordinary people who live here and not the professional-managerial types who are not loyal to the country, look down on the rest of us, and want less expensive au pairs.

59 Chris S June 11, 2014 at 9:01 am

Begging the question.

Actually begging lots of questions.

60 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 9:08 am

I beg not one question. I am restating what the aspirant economist is saying in plain terms. When Mr. Gochenour has finished his degree, he can do the rest of us a favor by emigrating and taking his dissertation adviser with him. We can get along with fewer twits in this country.

61 Chris S June 11, 2014 at 11:24 am

You are begging the following questions.

1. Posited welfare benefits due to immigration are small.
2. Posited welfare benefits due to immigration have unfortunate distributional consequences.
3. “Populist bais” means “bias towards ordinary people”.
4. Professional/managerial types are not loyal to the country.
5. Professional/managerial types look down on the rest of us.
6. Most/a preponderance of professional/managerial types have au pairs.

62 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 12:15 pm

I’m begging no questions.

1. I’ve just done some research on the actual dimensions of the posited benefits from immigration.

2. I’ve spent two decades paying attention to the discourse of vociferous advocates of lax immigration standards, including the two proximate relations I have who are graced with PhDs. Go ahead and try to find one whose talk is not informed by one of the following propositions (and usually all three): 1. that a nation is a social work project; or 2. that ordinary Americans are boring; 3. that the opponents of immigration are malicious; 4 that the economy will implode without mass immigration; 5. that people who advocate enforcing the law are being vulgar. Who am I supposed to believe, you or my own ears?

3. I neither stated nor implied that most bourgeois types employ au pairs, merely that it is a concern in those sorts of social circles. Why not read Anna Quindlen’s old columns on Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood if you want the flavor of it.

63 Chris S June 11, 2014 at 1:45 pm

2. Unfortunately I know none of your proximate relations. Also they may hold five of those three beliefs but I hold none of them.

I have not read much Anna Quindlen – perhaps I should, if she is the spokesperson for all of the Professional/Managerial class. That is especially troubling because I am both a professional and a manager. Maybe that’s because I don’t have an au pair.

64 Steve Sailer June 11, 2014 at 12:44 am

Professor Brat seems to understand that useful economic concepts like supply and demand, opportunity cost, and ceteris paribus apply to immigration.

65 Rahul June 11, 2014 at 1:32 am

Now that Sailer has approved, we can be satisfied that he must indeed be a good economist.

66 Nathan W June 11, 2014 at 1:18 am

I’m not sure of the historical accuracy of this straight off, but perhaps it was more that Protestantism was synonymous with shedding the quasi-feudal political structures (somewhat less so by 1600, and this is where I’m very uncertain) which sat alongside many church structures?

Greater freedom and growth are said to be closely related, right? I think that’s kind of implicit when some people talk about the effects of Protestantism, whereas others may interpret this as something specifically about their faith, and conflate this with Puritanism, which sometimes overlaps but often does not overlap with Protestantism.

67 RAstudent June 11, 2014 at 9:19 am


68 The Original D June 11, 2014 at 10:48 am

The very nature of Protestantism is that is a protest against the top down hierarchy. I’ll grant it’s still very prescriptive, but at least it doesn’t look to Rome — a different place with a different culture — for every decision.

69 Sam Haysom June 11, 2014 at 2:31 pm

This is completely wrong not only because rhe etymology of Protestant has nothing to do with “protest.” The Protestant state church set up by Luther was extremely hierarchical and because of its political weakness completely subordinate to the state.

70 So Much for Subtlety June 11, 2014 at 5:03 pm

The early Protestant Churches were supported by secular powers in part because they argued that the kings were placed in power by God and so were entitled to absolute, unconditional obedience. That was as true of Martin Luther – whose comments on revolting peasants are not moderate – as it was of Tyndale.

71 Theo June 11, 2014 at 7:25 pm

The premise is wrong to begin with. There are several papers on this issue on SSRN. But, if one can argue that Protestant areas were more productive than Catholic a great deal would hinge on the fact that Protestants got rid of all the wonderful and plenteous ‘Holydays’.

72 So Much for Subtlety June 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Nathan W June 11, 2014 at 1:18 am

I’m not sure of the historical accuracy of this straight off, but perhaps it was more that Protestantism was synonymous with shedding the quasi-feudal political structures (somewhat less so by 1600, and this is where I’m very uncertain) which sat alongside many church structures?

If shedding quasi-feudal political structures was important, those countries that did not have a feudal system ought to be doing great. Italy for instance. Thailand perhaps. It is noticable that the countries that have had the least trouble with modernity and development are those with the most classically feudal past – Northern Europe and Japan.

73 George June 11, 2014 at 1:32 am

Now, let’s see the sociology papers of his opponent.

74 Dan Weber June 11, 2014 at 7:54 am

His opponent in the general election teaches at the same school. Gonna be awkward on campus.

75 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 9:18 am

Given that Brat has fairly agreeable and engaging employment and is nowhere near retirement age, one does wonder why he wishes to spend time in a cesspit like the U.S. Congress. Eric Cantor worked in his father’s real estate business for a decade; even if there weren’t any issues between the two men, one can grasp his ambition to do something else.

76 Mike W June 11, 2014 at 10:45 am

I was wondering the opposite. Why would someone with the intestinal fortitude to get involved in the rough-and-tumble-negotiation-and-compromise of real world policy…someone who apparently does not require safe and fairly agreeable but irrelevant employment…have gone into academia in the first place?

77 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 11:16 am

Because academic life is not inherently unserious, particularly in a discipline like economics, it’s pleasant if you can land a permanent position, and it is engaging. It’s not just a refuge for people who need therapy as much as they need work (though arts-and-sciences faculties seem to attract many such people).

78 Z June 11, 2014 at 11:53 am

Well, it turns out that humans are not merely economic units that fit neatly onto a spreadsheet. Doing what one thinks is a good turn for their community may not make economic sense, but it is what humans have been doing for 50,000 years. In fact, this is a defining characteristic of modern humans.

The dream of turning the country into a land of self-interested sociopaths who view all relationships as transactional may happen. It certainly seems to be the case with millennials. But, not everyone will go quietly into that night.

79 Steve Sailer June 11, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Perhaps Professor Brat is a patriot?

80 John Cummings June 11, 2014 at 1:35 am

The “Protestant” work ethic is so lol. Machines, Machines, Machines. Nothing more, nothing less.

81 Andreas Moser June 11, 2014 at 1:52 am

I’ve never been able to tell a Protestant from a Catholic from a Jew by the way they work.

82 Giant Pupusa June 11, 2014 at 2:15 am

Some, more than others, prefer not to work though.

83 Steve Sailer June 11, 2014 at 2:42 am

Check out the demographics of the Forbes 400.

84 John Cummings June 11, 2014 at 4:38 am

Your Jewish right?

85 Dan Weber June 11, 2014 at 7:55 am

What about his Jewish right?

86 Willitts June 12, 2014 at 3:04 am

Most Jews are on his left.

87 Thomas June 11, 2014 at 3:32 am

John Cummings, Andreas Moser, and all the usual suspects yet to come, are willfully misinterpreting Brat’s quote from Vox.

“Give me a country in 1600 that had a Protestant led contest for religious and political power,” he writes, “and I will show you a country that is rich today.”

Nothing here suggests a normative judgment in favor of Protestants; this isn’t an affirmation of superiority. Brat’s quote is simply a claim about the culture of Protestant people. Disturbingly, the future will prove that the group of people who will jump on board this [false] opportunity to use the race card, will tend to despise the competitiveness they have independently observed, and will strongly supports redistribution to allay some portion of the effects of ‘competitiveness disparity’. John Cummings today will tell us that it’s all “Machines, Machines, Machines”, while tomorrow he’ll be somewhere else talking about investment bankers and big law associates toiling away at 80 hours per week and begrudging them their large salaries.

88 andrew' June 11, 2014 at 4:02 am

I’d say we should remain a democracy. But one paper is not conclusive!

89 Barkley Rosser June 11, 2014 at 4:12 am

Brat’s PhD is from left-leaning and somewhat heterodox American University. His most cited paper is with his major prof, Walter Park, in 1994 in Kyklos on global inequality and R&D. Looks like it could have been written by Piketty.

Most of his post-2000 pubs have been in the Virginia Economics Journal, long edited by colleague at Randolph Macon, Barry Pfitzner, who holds the only chaired professorship in the department that Brat has chaired since 2005. Brat also runs a BB&T ethics center there.

90 andrew' June 11, 2014 at 4:59 am

So you are saying this is a lateral move?

91 Socrates June 11, 2014 at 8:14 am

Barkley, you seem to be implying that his post-2000 papers were just accepted for publication because his buddy is the editor. I am sure there were external referees that supported the publication of those articles. There is something called academic integrity that some still hold in high regard which may be news to you. So let’s stop trying to discredit Brat’s post-2000 published work with innuendo.

92 andrew' June 11, 2014 at 8:18 am

BTW, you were an editor. Did you ever ask for papers? Did anyone help you by sending you something they could have published elsewhere?

93 andrew' June 11, 2014 at 8:20 am


94 Barkley Rosser June 11, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Of course papers get requested (I am a journal editor and have been for a long time), but this is on a scale beyond reasonable. This is a large number of papers, the largest chunk of his pubs since 2000 (with the other main outlet being a place I have never even heard of; at least I know of the VEJ, lowly ranked as it is). Pfitzner has been at R-MC for 31 years while Brat has been chairing the dept since 2005. Sorry, but this smells.

95 EL June 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm

By your rationale, Barkley, we should suspect the same from authors publishing in the Quarterly Journal of Economics (one of the top 5): the editors and most authors that publish there are colleagues at the same Ivy League department in Cambridge.

96 DougT June 11, 2014 at 4:27 am

It’s all in Weber’s “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.”

97 Steve Sailer June 11, 2014 at 5:43 am

I’ve always wondered how well the Weberian dichotomy works in German-speaking areas like Bavaria and eastern Switzerland where there are a lot of Catholics. Are Catholic areas notably poorer?

98 Z June 11, 2014 at 9:47 am
99 Urso June 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm

So “gay” and “easy girls” are right next to each other? Model that!

100 Philip George June 11, 2014 at 10:24 am

Good God no.

101 Chris S June 11, 2014 at 9:10 am

I wish I could post an image.

Definitely safe for work. In fact, encouraged for work.

102 t. gracchus June 11, 2014 at 5:05 am

Most of the current European countries did not exist in 1600.

103 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 8:53 am

Britain, France, and Russia were sovereign in 1600; Italy and Germany were as yet unconsolidated. As for Europe’s second tier, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, and Poland were extant in 1600; Norway, Belgium, and Austria were components of larger entities.

104 careless June 11, 2014 at 9:09 am

They were still places on a map.

105 t. gracchus June 11, 2014 at 10:10 am

There was no Italy in 1600, nor Germany. The United Kingdom was not yet united. Portugal was not a country. Russia was not part of Europe. What about Poland/Lithuania? Is that in or out of Europe? Switzerland was not a country.

106 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 10:27 am

Yes, there was a Germany. It was just fragmented amongst scores of mini-states and graced with a monarch whose position was ceremonial or influential but not governing. Portugal was most certainly a country in 1600. Russia was part of Europe and had not conquered Siberia or Turkestan as of that date. Switzerland was most certainly a country.

107 Jagielonnian June 11, 2014 at 12:35 pm

My cousin once did some genealogical research and excitedly told me that she had discovered a surprise – our ancestors weren’t German after all, they were Polish! She found the city they were born in, looked on a map, and discovered that it was in Poland. I explained that, no, they were German. They spoke German, had German names, were Lutheran. I told her about the Baltic Crusades, and East Prussia, and the Red Army’s forcible relocations in 1945. And she looked at me and said, “but it’s in Poland!”

108 Careless June 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm

You see that large isthmus hanging out in southern-central Europe? Europe’s dong? Call it “Italy” these days? It’s been there for many thousands of years. Been populated for dozens of thousands of years. The people there had characteristics including religion for much/most of that time, including all of recorded history.

The fact that there was no state called “Italy” is irrelevant

109 Steve Sailer June 11, 2014 at 5:41 am

Brat said:

“We all know the basic economics. Labor markets are still in chaos, and now our leadership wants to import more low wage labor, lower the wage rate for our citizens, and provide BIG business cronies with cheap labor.

“The Elites get cheap labor and you get low wages, more unemployment and to pay all the taxes that will support the Ruling Class in DC. This is classic Cantor vs. the People of the 7th District”

110 Rich Berger June 11, 2014 at 6:29 am

Gotta work better than the economics of Obama.

111 Chris S June 11, 2014 at 9:08 am

Also known as: “let me show you my priors”

112 Andrew' June 11, 2014 at 9:22 am

Can you identify any economics of Obama?

Just because the guy is horrible doesn’t mean it is because I think it.

And it’s not because he is black. I’m not a racist. But now I’m considering it.

113 Andrew' June 11, 2014 at 9:26 am

Take JUST the prisoner swap. Arnold Kling, who I assume doesn’t have an economics team nor Larry Summers on speed dial, cited research showing that negotiating with kidnappers results in 3 more kidnappings.

Now, this might be GREAT economics because I think the purpose of the security state is to produce its own demand.

But if Obama isn’t lying (about THAT, we know he lies about almost everything) then it is unimaginably poor economics (and PR). It’s great if he just wanted to see if he could get away with a back door Gitmo drawdown.

114 Z June 11, 2014 at 7:09 am

Sam Francis is laughing right now.

115 Benny Lava June 11, 2014 at 8:02 am

Give me a country that engaged in colonialism in 1600 and I will show you a country that is rich today.

Also, I wonder how the professor explains rich non Protestants like Singapore and Japan.

116 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 9:02 am

Russia was in the business of continental territorial expansion in 1600, as were the Ottomans. Turkey and Russia today are middle-income countries, nothing more. The most assiduous colonialists at the time were Spain and Portugal, neither of whom are front rank industrial states (though both are affluent). Germany and Italy are among the world’s most affluent countries though they were unconsolidated in 1600 and the former tended to be much more conservative than Britain or France in making overseas acquisitions after 1870 (and the latter was constrained by everyone else taking pieces off the board). Japan from 1603 to 1853 held to an isolationism abnormal in its comprehensiveness. Your remarks apply well only to the Netherlands, France, and Britain. BTW, French dependencies prior to 1870 amounted to factory colonies (in India, &c), some Caribbean islands, and Canadian settlements which had acquired a population of all of 20,000 by 1763.

117 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 9:04 am

& Reunion.

118 China Cat June 11, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Colonialism is more than territorial expansion, though. It is an often mutually beneficial but quite lopsided market arrangement.

Flying your flag in far off lands, having the clergy in those lands invoke your name on the regular, and being able to tax and/or conscript the locals is quite a different thing from extracting resources, bringing them home to make junk out of them, and sending them back as manufactured goods to a captive market.

119 Benny Lava June 11, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Why do you consider continental territorial expansion the same as colonialism? Are Texas and California examples of US colonialism? Seems like you have a poor definition of colonialism. And then you include Germany, which A) wasn’t a state in the 1600s and B) engaged in territorial expansion the same as Russia. Seems like you constructed a self refuting argument. In fact you can make the same expansionist argument about France because in the 1600s it annexed Alsace and Lorraine.

120 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Seems like you have a poor definition of colonialism.

No. You do.

121 careless June 11, 2014 at 9:12 am


122 Ed June 11, 2014 at 8:34 am

“…take Brat’s paper “Economic Growth and Institutions: The Rise and Fall of the Protestant Ethic?” Here, Brat makes the argument (amusingly citing the liberal economist Brad DeLong) that the spread of Protestantism in Europe was a key cause of European nations being wealthier than other countries. “Give me a country in 1600 that had a Protestant led contest for religious and political power,” he writes, “and I will show you a country that is rich today.””

This is what Weber said.

Its a respectable opinion, but I think the correlation was due to the accident of the Protestant parts of Europe having most of the coal and iron ore deposits. Also, until 1700 the Hapsburgs dominated most of Catholic Europe and their economic policies were probably not helpful to development. Post World War 2, for Europe at least the correlation does not hold.

123 Ed June 11, 2014 at 9:00 am

Though a comparison of the development histories of the United States and Brazil does provide alot of support for Weber’s theories.

124 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 9:13 am

Not a lot of support. It’s merely suggestive.

By way of example, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay were in 1928 1st world countries. They were not front-rank first world countries, but they had a standard of living which exceeded that of many European countries and central and eastern Europe quite generally. They were overrun by elderly women clutching rosaries after 1928, just bad policy and bad fortune.

125 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 9:13 am

“They were not overrun”

126 careless June 11, 2014 at 9:13 am

Your use of “alot” invalidates your posts.

127 Ohsjojrhgkghwrf June 11, 2014 at 10:34 am

The absence of initial capitalization in your name invalidates your invalidation. Cool trick!

128 @Youngecon June 11, 2014 at 10:47 am

Compare Brat’s paper

with Cantoni 2010

Cantoni doesn’t find evidence of the Protestant Ethic in the Holy Roman Empire and at least is plausibly trying to control for confounding factors, which at a cross country level would be very difficult.

129 Orson Olson June 11, 2014 at 8:42 am

OTHER distinctive interests in the D. Brat CV: “An Analysis of the Moral Foundations in Ayn Rand” by Katy Holland and David Brat, presented and published in the proceedings of Southeast Informs, Myrtle Beach, SC, October 6, 2010

AND THE BOOK “The Philosophy Of Economics: A History Of Science, Method And Ethics”

Described by freinds as a Catholic intellectual who lives by family, faith and hard work.

130 B.B. June 11, 2014 at 9:19 am

I just want to add a dimension to the election that no one seems to be mentioning. Virginia has open primary. Democrats could vote in the Republican primary (but no one can vote in both of the parties’ primaries).

I have to wonder how many Democrats crossed the line to nail Cantor by voting for Brat. The advantages are obvious. They take down a very powerful Republican that they don’t like. And then they have an inexperienced and more extreme opponent in the general election, raising the odds of a Democrat victory in November.

Harry Reid has played games like this before. He has used campaign funds to interfere in Republican Senate primaries, so that the weaker candidates win in the primary and lose in the general election. That is how Republicans lost Senate seats in 2012.

It is dirty pool. But it is business as usual in today’s polarized society.

To start with, I prefer we end open primaries. Stick to your party.

131 Bill June 11, 2014 at 9:43 am


Perhaps the Tea Party problem in the Republican Party is due to redistricting–making districts SO SAFE that the only contest is within the party, so that more extreme elements within the party can win a low turnout primary.

If the district were more balanced–that is, it had a moderate Republican AND conservative democratic mix–than the middle wing of the party could appeal to moderate and conservative democrats, independents and swing voters during the primary.

132 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 9:55 am

Tea partisans have just won state-wide primaries in Iowa and Nebraska.

133 Bill June 11, 2014 at 11:19 am

Hope they win more because what counts is the general election. What happened in Indiana and Conn and Nevada and Mo.

134 Z June 11, 2014 at 11:15 am

This is would certainly explain why California’s 12th keeps sending a lunatic to Congress.

135 Careless June 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Make up your mind. If the districts are so full of Republicans that Republicans can’t lose in them, yet they’re getting fewer total votes statewide also due to gerrymandering, they’d be getting killed in the House.

136 Careless June 11, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Of course, your theory would explain why Democrats would be getting more extreme.

137 Bill June 11, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Careless, The moderates and centrists, who would have to survive in a non-gerrymandered district, will not survive, and the low turnout primary winner will survive in the final of the House district race. As for state wide races, sorry. See Conn, Mo, Nev and Indiana.

138 Careless June 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Bill, the way they gerrymander to favor Republicans, as I just pointed out, is to make the Democratic districts much safer than the Republican districts. They want a bare but solid R-leaning majority in as many districts as possible with as many heavily D-leaning areas stuck together as they can manage.

That’s a recipe for center-ish Republicans and extremist Democrats.

139 Urso June 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm

“To start with, I prefer we end open primaries. Stick to your party.”
A Congressman is elected to represent the state of Virginia, not to represent the Republican Party. Open primaries reflect this. That being said, Virginia does not appear to have a true open primary. An open primary is an election including all declared candidates, and the two highest polling candidates proceed to a runoff, no matter what their party affiliation. That’s obviously the preferable method.

140 Chris S June 11, 2014 at 1:52 pm

“A Congressman is elected to represent the state of Virginia, not to represent the Republican Party.”

I think this is a major reason Cantor lost. He was a top nationwide republican, influencing races and gathering donations throughout the country. The people in his district wanted someone to represent them, and Cantor was not doing that.

141 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Virginia has an open primary. What you’re referring to – a conflation of primary and general elections – is a ‘jungle’ primary. You have those in local elections and used to have them in Louisiana at all levels. Not very common in federal elections.

142 Chris S June 11, 2014 at 1:50 pm

I personally voted for Rick Santorum in the republican primary. Having him around was just too much fun, I did not want to see him leave the news cycle.

Cantor’s loss will definitely make the news cycle around the Republican house leadership.

143 MikeDC June 11, 2014 at 10:51 am

As an economist, I’m for more immigration. Other things being equal.

As an economist, I’m also for the rule of law, minimizing cross-cultural conflict, and a smaller, smarter, more trackable and more transparent government.

All of the latter things work against more immigration in the current context.

144 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 11:12 am

As an economist, I’m for more immigration. Other things being equal.

Well, they’re not equal. Immigration has social costs that economists do not measure.

As an economist, you’re for more immigration because that’s the prejudice of your tribe.

145 MikeDC June 11, 2014 at 12:19 pm

I don’t think you read past the first sentence, or you’d have seen the second sentence I wrote was pointing out I see measurable economic costs to immigration (at least under our current system) and think those costs outweigh the benefits.

Basically, I think if you have to take legal and property rights seriously to have a functional and growing market economy. You need the rule of law, and the combination of an incomprehensible, corrupt and expensive government that still manages to blatantly not enforce the law is a bad thing in the long run.

Pointing to the economic benefits of immigration in that context is like pointing out the economic benefits to the thief of stealing my car. Even if it’s a third car that I don’t drive very much, the economic costs of sanctioning theft are, in the long-run, much greater than the benefits.

146 Art Deco June 11, 2014 at 2:38 pm

My regrets.

147 Ricardo June 11, 2014 at 1:18 pm

In what way does a “smaller, smarter, more trackable and more transparent government” work against more immigration? I would have said the opposite. It takes resources to keep people out. I’d have thought open borders would mean a smaller (no INS) and smarter (no arbitrary rules about who’s allowed in) government.

148 Careless June 11, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Do you think, say, Vermont has a smaller, more trackable, more transparent government than California?

149 MikeDC June 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm

One would think that, but in practice it’s the opposite. Why? Because fundamentally American citizens have the right to limit immigration into their country. And they continually voice support for such policies across the political spectrum. I think it’s generally wrong-headed like I think owning 16 cars is wrong-headed. But if a thief shows up and steals someone’s 16th car, I want the police to catch and punish the thief and return the car to the owner.

If the citizens of a country pass a law against immigration, I want the police to enforce it. By not enforcing it, they refuse to enforce our rights as citizens. In the case of immigration, what we’ve really got is a cold war of citizens vs. the state. The voting citizens want more limited immigration and the state does not. So as immigration laws have become progressively less enforced and immigrant populations have become progressively more costly, citizens have responded by favoring more “limits” on immigration. The state enacts limits, as it does all things, in the most complicated way possible and enforcing it as little as possible.

The mess we have today is the end result. The bureaucracy of the executive branch can’t be trusted to enforce any policy. The legislative branch can’t respond by forcing the executive to do its job, but for creating more and more hoops to jump through which are increasingly ignored.

So simply declaring “open borders” and abolishing the INS would make smaller government, sure. But the INS exists for perfectly legitimate reasons even if I disagree with it in theory. What’s making big government is the collective refusal of the bureaucrats to do what is asked of them and the inability of the legislators to channel the demands of the citizens into anything except asking the bureaucrats to do more, and creating more complicated processes for everyone to follow. In short, this process works to make government unresponsive and expensive, and to undermine the rule of law and foundations for peaceful economic activity more generally.

150 we live in interesting times June 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm

If we could only slap a carbon tax on them…

151 Thor June 11, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Who? Illegal immigrants or economists?

152 prior_approval June 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Now that the thread has gotten long enough, anyone know Brat’s perspective on tear gas?

Because I suspect that Prof. Cowen is in the same sort of quandary that existed back in 2012 concerning Cato Institute shareholding –

153 ThomasH June 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm

These are Brat’s political principles as posted on his website according to Wikipedia:

That the free enterprise system is the most productive supplier of human needs and economic justice,
That all individuals are entitled to equal rights, justice, and opportunities and should assume their responsibilities as citizens in a free society,
That fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraints must be exercised at all levels of government,
That the Federal Government must preserve individual liberty by observing Constitutional limitations,
That peace is best preserved through a strong national defense,
That faith in God, as recognized by our Founding Fathers is essential to the moral fiber of the Nation

These to me raise 5 red and one yellow flags.

I expect any and every conceivable candidate for Congress to subscribe to principles 1-5. They are so broad as to exclude very few postilions that a Congressman will face. Therefore it is suspicious to me that a candidate would post these AS IF they distinguish him from anyone else. Does he imply that any likely opponent does not think our (more or less) free enterprise system is inferior to the alternatives, that other candidates favor trampling liberty by violating Constitutional norms?

The yellow flag is the last one. Like many people, I disagree with it, but I’m happy fro him to express the opinion.

154 Careless June 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Er, yes, most candidates favor trampling Constitutional protections. Very strongly. There’s a reason we have four votes on the Supreme Court for an unrestrained Commerce Clause. Meanwhile, the other half of the isle has problems with various parts of the first, fourth, fifth Amendments

Not that most of them would admit their desire to trample the Constitution, or that I believe this guy doesn’t have such a desire

And we clearly do not have and have not had majorities in government who believe “That fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraints must be exercised at all levels of government,” or we wouldn’t be anywhere near where we are now.

155 Chris S June 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Why would you expect his wikipedia to differentiate him from anyone else? It is designed to be as bland an inoffensive as possible, while painting him in a vaguely positive light.

156 Joshua June 11, 2014 at 3:36 pm

It was nearly empty until he won the primary. This is just wikipedians playing catchup by grabbing the easiest information they can.

157 John Cummings June 11, 2014 at 4:11 pm

“God” could mean anything. Alot of leftist prescribe to a ‘God’ in a general term.

Brat got a grant from Rothschilds “libertarian” think tank fwiw. Guy is not clean like right-hegelians think.

158 Richard A. June 11, 2014 at 6:19 pm

“As a professional economist, Brat says “the Austrians are pure theory with no data. I like them. The Road to Serfdom [by Hayek] is on the money.” But Brat does not consider himself a proponent of the Austrian school. “If you had to peg me, I’m close to the Milton Friedman, Chicago School,” he told Breitbart News.”

159 Theo June 11, 2014 at 7:49 pm

You all should be celebrating the fact that someone in congress (given that he is elected) can argue from a statistical point of view. At least he is not as whack as that Seattle politician with an econ degree —

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