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Plea to Economists Who Favor Liberty: Assist the Everyman


  • Daniel Klein

    () (: Department of Economics, Santa Clara Univeristy)


Economists can to some extent enlighten policymakers and the public and influence public policy. That enlightenment is achieved more by concrete policy work and application of basics than by fancy models and fancy statistical significance. There is a trade-off between relevance/importance and rigor/precision. Because many economists concentrate on rigor and precision, their influence in public affairs is not as good as it could be. The professional emphasis on scholastic crafts forsakes the Smithian character of political economy. A more Smithian character for the economics profession would lead to better government policy. The primary article by Daniel B. Klein is followed by comments by Gordon Tullock, Deirdre McCloskey, Israel M. Kirzner, C.A.E. Goodhart, Robert H. Frank and James K. Galbraith and a rejoinder by Daniel B. Klein.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Klein, 2001. "Plea to Economists Who Favor Liberty: Assist the Everyman," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 185-202, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:27:y:2001:i:2:p:185-202

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-793, September.
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    7. Dickens, Richard & Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1999. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on Employment: Theory and Evidence from Britain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-22, January.
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    1. Inspired by Bryan Caplan on Straw-Manning
      by Don Boudreaux in Cafe Hayek on 2015-03-09 18:09:37


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    Cited by:

    1. Peter J. Boettke & Daniel J. D'Amico, 2010. "Corridors, Coordination, and the Entrepreneurial Theory of the Market Process," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 25(Spring 20), pages 87-96.
    2. Christopher J. Coyne, 2010. "Making Economics a Transformative Experience," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 26(Fall 2010), pages 57-65.
    3. Shaar, Karam & Baharumshah, Ahmad Zubaidi, 2016. "US-China trade: Who is telling the truth?," Working Paper Series 5146, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    4. Hendrik P. van Dalen, 2003. "Pluralism in Economics: A Public Good or a Public Bad?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-034/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 18 May 2004.
    5. Joshua C. Hall & Kaitlyn R. Harger, 2014. "Teaching Students to "Do" Public Choice in an Undergraduate Public Sector Course," Working Papers 14-16, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    6. William L. Davis, 2004. "Preference Falsification in the Economics Profession," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 1(2), pages 359-368, August.
    7. Robert Garnett, 2011. "Schools of Thought in the Republic of Social Science," Working Papers 201108, Texas Christian University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item



    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General


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