Saturday, May 8, 2010

New study: You can't trust Paul Krugman

Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is heavily politically biased—shocker! Here's the conclusion of a new study published in Econ Journal Watch:
Overall, our research finds that most economists don’t change their positions when the White House changes party. Only two economists changed their tune in a significant or moderate way. The strongest case is Paul Krugman. He explicitly supported deficit reduction in the 1990s and early 2000s under Republican administrations, then changed his view once Clinton entered office in 1993 and the Democrats gained control of Congress in 2006. The case is strengthened due to his large number of comments. He is the most frequent contributor on our list, a fact that reduces the chance of error in our conclusion. Alan Blinder also changed his tune, though in a less significant manner than Krugman. He consistently supported deficit spending that resulted from Democratic policies and criticized deficit spending that resulted from Republican policy.

Four other economists—Martin Feldstein, Murray Weidenbaum, Paul Samuelson, and Robert Solow—changed their tune in a minor way. That leaves eleven economists with strong cases in favor of nonpartisan commentary regarding the budget deficit. Given such consistency, they appear to be close to impartiality.
So, Paul Krugman and Alan Blinder are untrustworthy due to their political bias. Which Democrats can you trust? Christina Romer, Larry Summers, Joseph Stiglitz, Laura Tyson, Alicia Munnell, Janet Yellen, and Robert Lawrence. Which Republicans can you trust? Glenn Hubbard, Michael Boskin, and Paul McCracken.

Only 17 economists were studied—eleven of them Democrats—so the absence of someone from the trustworthy category shouldn't be a bad sign. Ben Bernanke, Greg Mankiw, Robert Shiller, and Jeffrey Sachs are a few well-known economists who weren't studied.

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