Economists don’t know what they are talking about

I am sorry, I would not have written that post title a few months ago, as it is not in general my style.  But I am disheartened by the recent Booth poll of economists, where the weight of opinion suggests that the Fed should raise rates this December.  Only seventeen percent say “uncertain,” when in my view that is obviously the correct answer.  I won’t myself say “don’t raise rates,” but there are enough good arguments for that view (see Krugman for instance) that it deserves more than 19% support.  In the space for comments, there was not a lot of talk about how outlining the broader path for monetary policy was a better and more important question.

This same group, in September, gave a lot of support to the idea of a $15 national minimum wage, a policy change which Alan Krueger himself rejects.  How many of those supportive economists were primed to first think of typical manufacturing wages in Mississippi?

You people on that panel, you are all better economists than I am.  Except when you are allowed to vote.

But quite seriously, my opinion of the professional consensus — on topics outside an individual’s research specialty — really has gone down as a result of these polls.  And, not to put too fine a gloss on it, but my opinion of myself has gone up.  Why should I not just come out and say it?


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