Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Economist Petitions: Ideology Revealed

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We report on 35 US-based economist petitions from 1994 to 2009, featuring 10,792 signatures and 6,030 signatories. We separate the 35 petitions into three categories: 15 liberty-augmenting (or liberal) petitions, 13 liberty-reducing (or interventionist) petitions, and 7 in a category called other. We analyze the data by individual, school, state, and gender. The most remarkable finding is how little crossover there is by individual between liberal and interventionist signing activity: Almost all active petition signers lean heavily toward either liberalism or interventionism. The economists most active in signing liberal petitions include Vernon L. Smith, David R. Henderson and Mark J. Perry. Those most active in signing interventionist petitions include Henry Aaron, Eileen Applebaum, Dean Baker, Peter Dorman, James K. Galbraith, Michael Perelman, Michael Reich, David Terkla, Christopher Tilly, and Thomas E. Weisskopf. We present information on many notable economists, including Nobel laureates. The schools that show the most signatures are George Mason University, University of Chicago, Stanford University, and Harvard University. We find a large difference by gender: Among men the ratio of liberal to interventionist signatures is much higher than it is among women.

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