How economists (and how many) advise the President

Keith Hennessey serves up a first-rate post; to excerpt it would diminish the impact.  Read the whole thing.


When I see a blog post like this, I usually skip it. Especially when I am told to "read the whole thing". Which usually indicates that the poster cannot provide a decent abstract.

This was actually a good post (I'm refering mainly to the Keith Henessey post). What the post does is to outline the bureaucratic structure of the United States government, as relates to economic policy and the White House, and more specifically who gets to advise the President on economic policy.

If you don't have ten minutes, the White House staff has gotten too big and too complicated, and Larry Summers has too much power. That is the gist of the post.

There is a "White House Office" AND an "Executive Office of the President". Read up to that point, bang your head against the wall for awhile, and you can skip the rest of the essay.

I fell asleep part way through.

Has anyone ever discussed the clear survivorship bias that exists in macroeconomics? Specifically that economists who come to believe in more interventional policy are more likely to be in political advisory roles (whether directly or via an academic position where they are "advising" society). An economist who believes in more free market, hands-off approaches will have less to offer politicians or bureaucrats who want to manipulate markets. (Think about who would naturally be attracted to the roles Hennessey describes.) The free-marketers will tend (present company as exceptions) to go into finance (which is why the investment banking is full of Austrians) or, in academics, go into management science, where audiences are more receptive to arguments about emergent order and decentralization (e.g., Clayton Christensen).

I haven't seen this discussed, and I cringe every time I see generalizations about economists and their views. Of course professional macroeconomists tend to like Keynesian policies--their customers want to intervene!

Could anyone else tell what department is responsible for the 10000 monkeys banging randomly on calculators, or the chicken entrails readers?

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