What Economists to Listen to? And Why?
Andrew Bacevich on Dwight MacDonald, Reinhold Niebuhr, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Henry Wallace

Marking My Beliefs About Which Economists Mark Their Beliefs to Market to Market

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Jonathan Portes reminds me that his which (macro)-economists are worth listening to? piece is from last June--and that I noticed it at the time. Clearly I need to recognize that my internal memory is full, and need to Google everything in order to find out what I know…

Jonathan came up with a small (and gratifying to me) whitelist of economists whom one should presume are to be taken seriously--because they have a coherent framework for looking at the world, and have broadly been correct in their forecasts since the world changed in 2007. It consists of:

And he sets forth a very small greylist of people whose analytical framework is neither clear nor transparent:

And he presents a blacklist of institutions: "[those] writing editorials at the Financial Times, macroeconomic forecasters at the OECD, the European Department at the IMF (up until recently - their recent stuff on both UK and eurozone has been pretty good), the senior leadership at the Bank of England and the Treasury, and probably worst of all senior economic policymakers at the ECB and European Commission. Oh, and the credit ratings agencies."

But he does not present a blacklist of individuals--a list of economist-goats, of people using a badly-flawed framework who have been repeatedly proven wrong since 2007 and have failed to mark their beliefs to market, whether because they do not believe in marking their beliefs to market, because they are seeking high office, because they are playing to a base that they hope will reward them, or for some other reason.

He suggests that readers come up with such a list.

So here is my start: a few people who, when I see their byline at the head of a piece, I now tend to presume that they are likely to get something badly wrong. In the order in which they have crossed my desk recently: Niall Ferguson, Allan Meltzer, Peter Schiff, Tim Geithner, Wolfgang Schäuble, Robert Lucas, Anders Aslund, John Taylor, Michael Boskin, Alberto Alesina.


UPDATE: Commenters add: John Cochrane, Glenn Hubbard, Alan Greenspan, Casey Mulligan, Eugene Fama, Hans-Werner Sinn, James Bullard, David K Levine, Luigi Zingales, Robert Barro, Douglas Holtz-Eakin,

And there are some commenters add who I would deny are really economists at all: Ed Prescott, Steve Landsburg, Robert Murphy, Robert Samuelson,

And I would transfer from the commenter-added-blacklist to the greylist: James Hamilton, Raghuram Rajan, Gregory Mankiw,