Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Volume 20, Number 2, September 2023

In this issue (.pdf):

Screening the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation: In an article in the American Economic Review, Desmond Ang purports to show causal impact of screenings of the film between 1915 and 1919 on lynchings, on the formation and growth of Ku Klux Klan chapters between 1920 and 1925, and on hate crimes in the early 2000s. Here, concurring that the film itself reeks of racism, Robert Kaestner scrutinizes Ang’s data and analyses, and challenges the claims of causal evidence of effects from 1915–1919 screenings of the film. (Note: Professor Ang was not invited to reply for concurrent publication because Kaestner’s piece was finalized at too late a date. Professor Ang is invited to reply in a future issue.)

Testing claimed links between temperature and economic growth: Having tested temperature-economic growth claims previously in this journal (here and here), David Barker now reports on his investigation into much-cited articles by Melissa Dell, Benjamin Jones, and Benjamin Olken, published in the American Economic Review in 2009 and the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics in 2012. As with the two previous pieces by Barker, the commented-on authors have declined to reply (the invitation remains open).

Debating the causes of the Ukraine famine of the early 1930s: Two scholars interpret the complex causes of a tragedy that caused the loss of perhaps three million souls. Natalya Naumenko’s research on the causes of the Ukraine famine is discussed by Mark Tauger, and Naumenko replies.

Ergodicity economics, debated: A number of scholars have advanced an approach to decision making under uncertainty called ergodicity economics. A critique is provided here by Matthew Ford and John Kay, who maintain that psychology is fundamental to any general theory of decision making under uncertainty. Eleven proponents of ergodicity economics have coauthored a reply. They suggest that the critique is based on an incomplete understanding of ergodicity economics, and point to two sources of misunderstanding. The replying authors are Oliver Hulme, Arne Vanhoyweghen, Colm Connaughton, Ole Peters, Simon Steinkamp, Alexander Adamou, Dominik Baumann, Vincent Ginis, Bert Verbruggen, James Price, and Benjamin Skjold.

Dispute resolution on hospitals, communication, and dispute resolution? Previously, Florence R. LeCraw, Daniel Montanera, and Thomas A. Mroz (LMM) criticized the statistical methods of a 2018 article in Health Affairs. Here, Maayan Yitshak-Sade, Allen Kachalia, Victor Novack, and Michelle M. Mello provide a reply to LMM, and LMM provide a rejoinder to them.

Aaron Gamino rejoins on health insurance mandates and the marriage of young adults: Previously, Aaron Gamino commented on the statistical modeling in a 2022 Journal of Human Resources article, whose authors, Scott Barkowski and Joanne Song McLaughlin, replied. Here now Gamino provides a rejoinder.

A History of Classical Liberalism in the Netherlands: Edwin van de Haar narrates the classical liberal movements in the Netherlands, from the Dutch Golden Age, through the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, and down to today. The article extends the series on Classical Liberalism in Econ, by Country.

To Russia with love: The conservative liberal Boris Chicherin (1828–1904) addressed his fellow Russians in an 1857 essay “Contemporary Tasks of Russian Life.” Here, the essay is republished by permission of Yale University Press, with a Foreword by the translator Gary Hamburg.

Pierre de Boisguilbert: Prime Extracts and Some Correspondence: The first great exponent of liberal economics in France was Pierre de Boisguilbert (1646–1714). Here, Benoît Malbranque provides English-language readers with a taste of Boisguilbert, and for the first time.

SSRN and medRxiv Censor Counter-Narrative Science: Jay Bhattacharya and Steve Hanke detail the experience of three research teams being censored by SSRN and medRxiv. The article also points to a website (link) where scholars can report their experiences of being censored by SSRN, medRxiv, or other preprint servers.

Journal of Accounting Research’s Report on Its Own Research-Misconduct Investigation of an Article It Published: Dan Klein reports and rebukes the journal.

What are your most underappreciated works? Previously, 18 scholars with 4k+ Google Scholar cites pointed to a decade-or-more old paper with cite count below his or her h-index. Now, they are joined by Andrew Gelman, Robert Kaestner, Robert A. Lawson, George Selgin, Ilya Somin, and Alex Tabarrok.

EJW Audio:

Edwin van de Haar on Classical Liberalism in the Netherlands

Paul Robinson on Russian Liberalism

Vlad Tarko and Radu Nechita on Liberalism in Romania, 1829 to 2023

Call for papers:

Who should get the Nobel Prize in economics, and why?

EJW invites ‘journal watch’ submissions beyond Econ.

EJW fosters open exchange. We welcome proposals and submissions of diverse viewpoints.

Read the September 2023 issue in full (.pdf)

Table of contents (.pdf) with links to articles