Rev Austrian Econ (2012) 25:173–183 DOI 10.1007/s11138-011-0160-6 On economists and garbagemen: Reflections on Šťastný (2010) Dalibor Roháč Published online: 13 July 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011 1 Introduction In his book on the economics of the economic profession, Šťastný (2010) provides a valuable service not only to professional economists, but also to the broader public who ought to be aware of the incentive structure of economic research and therefore cautious of accepting the advice of expert economists. In his book, Šťastný makes two broad claims, or two series of claims. The first revolves around the disconnect that exists between economists’ policy prescriptions and reality. In spite of the consensual views of economists on subjects like trade protectionism, rent controls, or agricultural subsidies, these demonstrably harmful policies remain in place, and sometimes even enjoy popular support. Hence the frustration experienced by many economists who were lured into economics with the ambition of changing, reforming, and improving the world. The second series of claims tries to account for the peculiar interaction between the supply and demand for economic ideas. Šťastný claims that the growing irrelevance of economists in shaping public policy has led them to embark on less and less
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 13, 2011
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