James’ post reflects on a feeling that is common among economists; the weariness of having your discipline’s basic insight completely disregarded by policy makers, even though widely agreed upon and taught everywhere. The same anti-intellectual behavior is rightfully looked down upon with regards to environmental and climate studies, yet somehow remains acceptable when it comes to economics.

Check out his research on Health Economics.

Pursuit of Truthiness

President Obama called for an increase in the minimum wage to $9 in last night’s State of the Union speech. A lot of economists will take this as a personal affront, wondering how people still think this is a good idea after we explain in every MicroEcon 101 class how it will backfire and result in poor people losing their jobs and losing non-wage benefits. If you are determined to support a minimum wage, you could simply ignore all these arguments, but this beginner tactic will leave you looking ignorant.

A more advanced tactic for not having to change your mind about the minimum wage allows you to know two things instead of none. You can know the Econ 101 arguments, and also know about Card and Kreuger’s 1996 empirical study showing how the minimum wage might not affect unemployment. Pull out your pocket copy of Card and Kreuger’s paper…

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