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When the White House Changes Party, Do Economists Change Their Tune on Budget Deficits?

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  • Brett Barkley

Abstract

Large budget deficits represent a burden on the future, and debt accumulation eventually poses great problems. Economists writing for the public can either highlight such truths, neglect the issue, or try to allay worries or excuse or justify large budget deficits (as anti-recession policy, for example). Economists affiliated or aligned with one of the parties may be suspected of changing their positions on budget deficits to serve their favored party or win favor with its constituency. This paper investigates selected economists, to see whether their tune changes when the party holding the White House changes. Six economists are found to change their tune—Paul Krugman in a significant way, Alan Blinder in a moderate way, and Martin Feldstein, Murray Weidenbaum, Paul Samuelson, and Robert Solow in a minor way—while eleven are found to be fairly consistent.

Suggested Citation

  • Brett Barkley, 2010. "When the White House Changes Party, Do Economists Change Their Tune on Budget Deficits?," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 7(2), pages 119-156, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:7:y:2010:i:2:p:119-156
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Daniel B. Klein & Harika Anna Barlett, 2008. "Left Out: A Critique of Paul Krugman Based on a Comprehensive Account of His New York Times Columns, 1997 through 2006," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 5(1), pages 109-133, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    budget deficits; economists; bias;

    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
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus

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