More on Mankiw

More on Mankiw

Before this announcment, Brad DeLong wondered why Mankiw (and others) signed the “Republican Economists’ Letter”:

I was slightly disappointed, second, to see Greg Mankiw’s, Mike Boskin’s, and Marty Feldstein’s names on the signature list. I don’t think the letter accurately reflects their views–meaning that if I held their views about how the economy works and what a good society looks like, and if I held their political allegiances, I would not have signed the letter.

Besides the economists DeLong mentions, I’d add that the only other economists of academic note that I found in a quick skim of the list are Ed Prescott, R. Hodrick, Allan Meltzer, and Michael Jensen (who I cited here, about 1/2 way down). By “academic note”, I mean their works are likely to appear in at least one first or second year PhD Economics or Business course. I probably missed one or two (apologies), but given the length of the list, the list is most noteable for the lack of signatures of top economists. Again, DeLong beats me to this punch:

Without their [Mankiw, Feldstein, Boskin] names, the signature list of the letter is not all that terribly impressive: the overall impression is of people who don’t know very much about the federal budget, old Republicans who should have known better, young Republicans who I hope will soon learn better, political hacks hoping for government jobs, lobbyists hoping to get their names on lists of people owed favors, and a smattering of True Believers with fringe views (not that there is anything wrong with having fringe views: my views on a number of important questions are “fringe”: truth is not always with the establishment consensus). Keeping Boskin, Feldstein, and Mankiw on board would have been a high priority.


P.S. Here’s the entire text of the letter, what could be more vacuous? There’s no how or why. Nor does it address deficits.

We enthusiastically endorse your economic growth and jobs proposal. It is fiscally responsible and it will create more employment, economic growth, and opportunities for all Americans. Moreover, it will improve corporate accountability and strengthen the nation’s international competitiveness.

Update: Tapped also has some good info on the “economists” signing the letter