IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Economics, Economists, and Economic Policy: Modern American Experiences

  • William R. Allen
Registered author(s):

    Much of federal government policy-making and -implementing is economic in matter and repercussion. But most policy decisions are made ultimately by non-economists. There are many economists in government, some of them seasoned government careerists and some on leave from universities. But what is their actual role? What do economists in seemingly significant positions in government do and how do they do it? Under what circumstances and subject to what constraints do they work? How useful is the economist’s training? How sophisticated, how formal, is the analysis upon which they frame their thinking on the issues they deal with? How great is their impact in policy determination? How might the role of economists be better performed? This survey and evaluation is based on candid interviews, from 1972 to 1976, of some sixty well-placed economists who were, or had been, in government. If there is a moral to the story, it may be that the policy process is and inevitably will be far coarser and more compromised in its adherence to sound elemental economics than innocent souls would ever imagine.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Econ Journal Watch in its journal Econ Journal Watch.

    Volume (Year): 7 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 235-274

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:7:y:2010:i:3:p:235-274
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Enterprise Hall, Room 354, 4400 University Drive, 3G4 Fairfax, VA 22030
    Phone: (703) 993-1151
    Fax: 703.993.1133
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:7:y:2010:i:3:p:235-274. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jason Briggeman)

    The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Jason Briggeman to update the entry or send us the correct address

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.