Professors Paul Krugman and Greg Mankiw have stirred up the blogosphere recently with columns on health care. I think both of them are often wrong, as are many economists on many topics, IMHO.
Before I go on let me stipulate:
Both are smarter than I am.
Both are better educated than I am.
Both have better quantitative skills than I have.
Both have more resources than I have.
But both are wrong on healthcare issues.
How dare I challenge these respected giants of economics?
Thirty years of involvement in health care ranging from accounting for a single physician practice to working with national healthcare associations on broad policy issues. For starters.
And you will never see my byline in the NYT on healthcare issues.
In the US there is apparently a strain of thought that only lawyers, journalists and economists are generally qualified to comment as “experts” on a huge range of topics.
(I’ll rip on lawyers another day.)
Krugman and Mankiw have formidable skills and access to mountains of data. Both are adept at looking at those mountains, looking at the work of other economists and policy wonks, and drawing conclusions. I grant them their intellectual superiority.
But here is the question:
Can economists really use their skills and resources to be experts on such a wide range of topics?How much credibility should we give them?