My Most Regretted Statements
This page presents the Econ Journal Watch symposium called “My Most Regretted Statements.”
The journal invited several leading intellectual figures to tell of their most regretted statements and to reflect on why they now regret those statements. The symposium Prologue elaborates on the motivation.
The symposium contains these contributions:
- Monique Bégin tells of a statement she often repeated in her time as Canada’s Minister of National Health & Welfare: “Canada is the Sweden of the Americas.”
- Michael Boskin reflects on his time as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and the hazards of misattribution, of not controlling op-ed titles, and of equations going missing.
- Tyler Cowen reflects on his circa 2007 underestimation of the likelihood of a major financial crisis.
- Jon Elster draws from his work on defective belief formation, illustrating with his own past errors, including about the electorate binding itself and about thinking of anti-communists “as a clock that is always one hour late rather than as a broken clock that shows the right time twice a day.”
- Richard Epstein tells of his conversion to consequentialism.
- Sam Peltzman relates his hardy forecast in 1988 of Michael Dukakis’s impending victory over George H. W. Bush.
- Cass Sunstein begins: “I have said a lot of things that I regret.” And he ends: “A main job of academics is to float ideas and take risks, and if they do not make mistakes, or learn enough to change their minds, well, that’s really something to regret.”
Read the symposium in its entirety here.
The symposium was published as part of the May 2017 issue of the journal.