The Economist asks economists who is THE economist
February 1, 2011 11:00 AM   Subscribe

The Economist asks a few economists from around the world: a) Which economists were most influential over the past decade? b) Which economists were doing the most to shape post-crisis thinking? The leading nominees: Ben Bernanke and Raghuram Rajan, respectively. In case the second name is unfamiliar, read a recent interview of him in The New Yorker or take a look at his blog.

Full list of results:

a) Ben Bernanke (7 votes); John Maynard Keynes (4); Jeff Sachs, Hyman Minsky, Paul Krugman (3); Adam Smith, Robert Lucas, Joseph Sitglitz, Friedrich Hayek, Alan Greenspan (2); Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Andrei Schleifer, David Laibson, Daron Acemoglu, Barry Eichengreen, Ronald Coase, Ernst Fehr, Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee, Manmohan Singh, Irving Fisher, John Taylor, Larry Summers, Kenneth Arrow, Robert Solow, George Akerlof, Martin Feldstein, Nouriel Roubini, Charles Goodhart, Ricardo Caballero, Amartya Sen, Tyler Cowen, Steven Levitt, Deidre McCloskey, Milton Friedman (1)

b) Raghuram Rajan (4); Robert Shiller, Kenneth Rogoff (3); Barry Eichengreen, Nouriel Roubini (2); John Maynard Keynes, Paul Krugman, Friedrich Hayek, John Taylor, Kenneth Arrow, Viral Acharya, Carmen Reinhart, William White, Willem Buiter, Charles Calomiris, Gary Gorton, Olivier Blanchard, Douglas Diamond (1)
posted by jng (12 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Whoops, the interview is not recent (2010) but hopefully still relevant.
posted by jng at 11:02 AM on February 1, 2011 says Alan Greenspan.
posted by three blind mice at 11:24 AM on February 1, 2011

Engels for show.
Keynes for the kill.
posted by clavdivs at 11:39 AM on February 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Rajan defended by Krugman.
Two things are really striking here. First is the obsequiousness toward Alan Greenspan. To be fair, the 2005 Jackson Hole event was a sort of Greenspan celebration; still, it does come across as excessive — dangerously close to saying that if the Great Greenspan says something, it must be so. Second is the extreme condescension toward Rajan — a pretty serious guy — for having the temerity to suggest that maybe markets don’t always work to our advantage. Larry Summers, I’m sorry to say, comes off particularly badly.
And criticized by Krugman.
Mark Thoma is astonished at Raghuram Rajan’s obviously intense desire to find some argument, any argument, for raising interest rates even though unemployment is near 10 percent. As he points out, Rajan is reduced to arguing that the Fed should raise rates because unemployment is low in Brazil.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:57 AM on February 1, 2011

Thanks to another MeFite, I've become a huge fan of Ronald Coase. He's just turned 100, and has a new book coming out soon! Here's a lecture from 2002 on Why Economics Will Change, and another from 2003 on Law and Economics (parts 2 3 4 5 & 6) - a field which Coase might be said to have invented.

Raghuram Rajan wisely predicted the form which the financial crisis would take, but I find his suggested improvements distinctly uninspiring. After all, since Keynes we have known that government should spend more in bad times and put the brakes on during good ones, but nobody likes to be a party pooper so they just override such prescriptions in times of euphoria.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:05 PM on February 1, 2011

The choices of Bernanke and Rajan as the most influential economists of the past decade explains pretty well why the field is such a mess right now.
posted by euphorb at 1:12 PM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

So, let me get this straight... the guy put in charge of pulling the world's largest economy out of the largest mess in 80 years... is pretty influential?

Ya don't say.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:18 PM on February 1, 2011

Yeah, it's like those 'greatest of all time' polls where everything in the top 10 came out in the last year or two. I feel this might have been more insightful if anonymous voting or somesuch had been employed to filter out reputational considerations.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:30 PM on February 1, 2011

Max Keiser!
posted by Deep Dish at 3:08 PM on February 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

No Daniel Kahneman or Amos Tversky?
posted by LSK at 9:10 PM on February 1, 2011

Also of note: Rajan is one of the (many, suddenly many) voices of reason in Inside Job. (He's under "academics" on the cast page. Warning, flashy.)
posted by kittyprecious at 6:04 AM on February 2, 2011

I'm surprised Kahneman didn't get a mention.
posted by alby at 10:25 AM on February 3, 2011

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