Which economists should be more influential?

Chris Dillow over at Stumbling and Mumbling has responded to The Economist’s controversial list of the world’s most influential economists with a post saying complexity economics should be more influential. I agree with him. But he set me thinking about which other economists ought to have featured in the list.

One glaring feature of the ranking is the complete absence of women. It excludes current (but not former) central bankers, so Janet Yellen doesn’t feature. Nor does Christine Lagarde – a lawyer, true, but not all the people on the list are economists anyway. There are other highly influential women who surely ought to have featured, such as [amazon_link id=”1586487981″ target=”_blank” ]Esther Duflo[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”0674035305″ target=”_blank” ]Claudia Goldin[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”0857282522″ target=”_blank” ]Mariana Mazzucato[/amazon_link], doing work that has been much discussed in the publications and blogs I look at. It’s a very Anglo-American list too, as it is about the English language blogosphere.

[amazon_image id=”B0092I0M0Y” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Poor Economics A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Duflo, Esther ( Author ) ON Jun-09-2011, Hardback[/amazon_image]¬† [amazon_image id=”0674035305″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Race between Education and Technology[/amazon_image] [amazon_image id=”0857282522″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths (Anthem Other Canon Economics)[/amazon_image]

The other striking thing is that the list only contains two sub-disciplines, behavioural economics and macro. Important, but my goodness there is so much more to economics.

So my nomination for economists who ought to have been included are all those applied micro people working on public policy issues. They are often attached to institutes and work collaboratively. It only takes a quick glance at the research publications issued by the IFS, CMPO, CEP, CEPR, NIESR in the UK, or the NBER or TSE – or many, many other groups in many countries – to see what an impressive amount of empirical economic evidence is accumulating. I guess it isn’t so visible because it is dispersed among different questions – everything from my University of Manchester colleague Rachel Griffith‘s work on the causes of obesity to Marc Ivaldi on competition policy in the telecoms and technology sectors¬† to Costas Meghir and colleagues on the inter-generational returns to women’s education. Nor does it make the headlines often, as the public debate is so macro-dominated.

Which is a handy way of segueing into saying I am now on the roster of contributors to the FT’s new blog The Exchange, and have a post there today about how we should be thinking about infrastructure investment. I’ll be writing about applied micro and policy issues.

2 thoughts on “Which economists should be more influential?

  1. Pingback: Which economists should be more influential? | Homines Economici

  2. I agree. It is worth to reflect on what and who is influenced by the economist. I like your ads of both economists presenting new frames and/or areas as f example Ester Duflo and Mariana Mazzucato and your question of agency. Maybe some of the most influential economist are working as part of teams/ collective and not as visible as the usual suspects.Sometimes I think we are too narrow in our way of frame the act of influence.

    From by point position working with innovation , environment and development is seems obvious also including economist influencing

    Innovation, competitiveness and national/regional development:
    – national, regional and local strategies where the EU’s focus on Clusters and regional policy is building framework on Michael Porter theories of Cluster and Innovation systems (Nelson?/Lundvall?). The role of the public sector (Marianne Mariana Mazzucato)

    – Competitive policy and competition policy. Is Jean Tirole still the best sugestion because of his influence on policy practice in EU. What about the health economy who is framing economic concepts for this huge area

    – Entrepreneurship and business development?
    What about the development outside Europe and US. The Chinese economist is now the biggest economy.
    – What about the China. Do they only imitate the western economists or do they have their own conceptual frameworks based and economists. What about the growth strategy? What about their circular economy?
    – Is Joseph Stigtlitz influence out site US and in institutions like world bank? I also tink that your are right on Ester Duflo influence on new develop economy.
    Dani Rodrik and Jeff Sachs also had some influence in this area.

    What about Public sector: Infrastructure (energy, environment, water) How and how is framing the economic think on these huge areas?
    Climate change + Nicholas Stern or collectives like IPPC.

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