Economics, In General

Is it Useful?

The status of economists: The power of self-belief The Economist, December 6, 2014. [A new paper looks at how economists became so influential.]

What Is Economics Good For? By ALEX ROSENBERG and TYLER CURTAIN, The Stone (blog), The New York Times, August 24, 2013. [Economics is not yet a science, and may never be.]

Economic Surplus By JEFFREY A. MIRON, The Harvard Crimson, Online Edition, June 02, 2008. [Why is economics so darn popular among Harvard students? It pays well to be an econ grad and the subject can be useful in making sense of how the world works.]

The Hot Major For Undergrads Is Economics By JESSICA E. VASCELLARO, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, July 5, 2005. [Yeay!]

The Dismal Science? Hardly! By ROBERT D. MCTEER, JR., THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, June 4, 2003. [Economics helps you catch those proposing loony public policies.]

Economist Class By Moisés Naím, Foreign Policy, March/April 2006. [Economics can be a lot more fruitful if economists listen to sociologists.]

Economic Systems

To Have and Have Not in Havana By MAX BOOT, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, March 12, 2002. [A contemporary communist society]

Pursuing an American Dream While Following the Koran By SUSAN SACHS, THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 5, 2001. [Religious principles once determined the nature of an economic system. Echoes of those influences persist.]

Loans, Interest Rates and a Religious Principle By SHIRA J. BOSS, THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 5, 2001.

Data Problems

The Dismal Art By James Surowiecki, Democracy, Issue #32, Spring 2014. [Economic forecasting has become much more sophisticated in the decades since its invention. So why are we still so bad at it?]

Random harvest The Economist, December 14, 2013. [Once treated with scorn, randomised control trials are coming of age in economics.]

Randomised control trials: Coming of age by J.L.P., Free Exchange (blog), The Economist, December 12, 2013. [Experimental evidence is helping economists understand and address poverty in a more effective way.]

Professors Offer a Reality Check For Politicians By LYNNLEY BROWNING, THE NEW YORK TIMES, August 31, 2002.

Economy Online: Where to Read The Tea Leaves By DAVID WESSEL, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, December 4, 2003.

Signifying nothing? The Economist, January 29, 2004. [Too many economists misuse statistics.]

Data in Conflict: Why Economists Tend to Weep By DANIEL ALTMAN, THE NEW YORK TIMES, July 11, 2003.

Storms That Surprised Europe Show Forecast Limits By SUZANNE DALEY with WILLIAM K. STEVENS, THE NEW YORK TIMES, January 4, 2000.[It's not just economists that find prediction difficult!]

Government Asks, How Big Is the Digital Economy? By JERI CLAUSING, THE NEW YORK TIMES, May 26, 1999. [Sometimes it might be hard to even measure the thing you are interested in.]

U.S. Commerce Dept to Collect Data on Online Sales By REUTERS, THE NEW YORK TIMES, September 21, 1999. [Economists depend on governments for a lot of the data they use.]

The fruits of fieldwork The Economist, August 15, 2002. [Might visiting a pin factory provide insights official statistics cannot?]

Try it and see The Economist, February 28, 2002. [In the social sciences, it is often supposed, there can be no such thing as a controlled experiment. Think again]

Value Judgments in Economics

The Pope's Take on Capitalism By ANDREW ROSENTHAL, Taking Note (blog), The New York Times, November 26, 2013. [In his first major piece of writing, Pope Francis called unfettered capitalism a "new tyranny." Here's more.]

Oil-Rich Norway Hires Philosopher As Moral Compass: State Seeks Ethics Lesson On Investing Its Bonanza; Mr. Syse Reads Hobbes By ANDREW HIGGINS, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, December 1, 2005. [The Norwegian government has hired a philosopher to figure out how best to spend all the extra money that poured into the country when oil prices shot up. Good for them! Economists concentrate on how to make the size of the pie larger and have little to say on how the pie should be shared. For that you need a philosopher.]

TV Review: ‘P.O.V.’ on PBS: How Missionaries Spread the Word, and U.S. Capitalism By VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN, The New York Times, July 25, 2006. [Christian missionaries supported the spread of capitalism in the Third World. Why? Not necessarily because Christianity and capitalism were intrinsically related. Perhaps the missionaries simply thought that they knew better than the poor people they were preaching to and pushed capitalism just as they pushed Christianity, even though they were there to do only the latter. The spread of capitalism may have simply been an unintended byproduct of evangelical work.]

Liquid Assets: Two Economists Look At America Through Very Different Glasses By Joel Achenbach, The Washington Post, August 23, 2004. [Here are two economists disagreeing on virtually every issue. Why?]

Genetic Basis to Fairness, Study Hints By NICHOLAS WADE, The New York Times, September 18, 2003. [Even monkeys hate being treated unfairly. Economists assume that people behave rationally. But sometimes our deep need for fair treatment trumps the economists' narrow notions of what constitutes rational behavior.]

Harvard Professor Proposes Alternative Economics Class By DAVID LEONHARDT, THE NEW YORK TIMES, March 4, 2003. [Disagreements among economists often stem from the simplifying assumptions they make in their theories.]

Social Goals: Economic Efficiency is Necessary but not Sufficient

Materialism damages well-being By Richard Tomkins, Financial Times, November 27, 2003.

A Civilized Society By ANTHONY LEWIS, THE NEW YORK TIMES, September 08, 2001.

If Richer Isn't Happier, What Is? By DAVID LEONHARDT, THE NEW YORK TIMES, May 19, 2001.

What money can’t buy The Economist, May 10, 2001. [How education and friends enrich us.]

Economics Education

Post-crisis economics: Keynes’s new heirs The Economist, November 23, 2013. [Britain leads a global push to rethink the way economics is taught in the post-Great Recession age.]

Orthodox economists have failed their own market test By Seumas Milne, The Guardian, November 20, 2013. [Students are demanding alternatives to a free-market dogma with a disastrous record. That's something we all need.]

Economics students need to be taught more than neoclassical theory By Zach Ward-Perkins and Joe Earle, The Guardian, October 28, 2013. [University syllabuses for economics are stuck on an outdated model. There are other schools of thought worth learning about.]

Mainstream economics is in denial: the world has changed By Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian, October 28, 2013. [Despite the crash, the high priests of economics refuse to look at the big picture – and continue to prop up world elites.]

Economics students aim to tear up free-market syllabus By Phillip Inman, The Guardian, October 24, 2013. [Undergraduates at Manchester University propose overhaul of orthodox teachings to embrace alternative theories.]

Economists' blogs: The invisible hand on the keyboard The Economist, August 3, 2006. [Why do economists spend valuable time blogging? To set the dumbasses straight.]

The Opportunity Cost of Economics Education By ROBERT H. FRANK, THE NEW YORK TIMES, September 1, 2005. [If you are taking an introductory economics course, don't assume that you will learn much: "Unfortunately, however, most students seem to emerge from introductory economics courses without having learned even the most important basic principles." Why? First, the courses cover too much material without focusing on the essentials. Second, the courses are designed for the few students who intend to become econ majors rather than the overwhelming majority who go on to major in something else. Third, and most disappointingly, even the professors often tend to be confused about the concepts they are supposed to be teaching!]

Economists Join Blogging Frontier: Web Provides Visibility And Voice to Spread Ideas; A Federal Reserve Blogger By AGNES T. CRANE, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, August 11, 2005. [A new way for economists to get their two cents into public debate.]

Survey Finds Many Have Poor Grasp of Basic Economics By MARY WILLIAMS WALSH, The New York Times, April 27, 2005. [Tsk, tsk!]

Economic Scene By ALAN B. KRUEGER, THE NEW YORK TIMES, April 1, 2004. [How well informed is the American public on economic issues? Not very.]

Teachers Wrap Lessons in Fiction By PATRICIA COHEN, THE NEW YORK TIMES, November 16, 2002. [Sometimes the best way to teach economics is through novels and short stories.]

Economists Do the Darndest Things

Sportonomics Beguiles 3 Economists By JOE NOCERA, THE NEW YORK TIMES, June 24, 2006. [You can learn a lot about what works and what doesn't work in sports by using the tools of economics. Joe Torre, pay attention!]

The Probability That a Real-Estate Agent Is Cheating You (and Other Riddles of Modern Life) By STEPHEN J. DUBNER, THE NEW YORK TIMES, August 3, 2003.

Economics Medal Is Given To Levitt for Crime Studies By JON E. HILSENRATH, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, April 28, 2003.

Provocative Economist at Chicago Awarded Prize By DANIEL ALTMAN, THE NEW YORK TIMES, April 26, 2003.

Social Issues Meet Market Models In the Work of the New Economists By JON E. HILSENRATH, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, April 27, 2001.

What the Market Will Bear, By JAMES RYERSON, The New York Times, June 24, 2001. [Richard Posner takes the law and economics movement a step farther and seeks "to unify the many scattered territories of the law by reformulating legal concepts in the language and equations of the marketplace". The influence of economics on the law has become such that "most good law schools in the country now employ at least one economist, and policy reforms in fields as diverse as antitrust law, environmental regulation and criminal sentencing bear the distinctive imprint of economic analysis."]

Maintained by Udayan Roy.