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March 19, 2005



Another bit of Mansfield that seems appropriate here: "Studying methodology is like practicing seduction on an empty couch."

The Unknown Professor

Nice posting - I think you've pretty much nailed it.

I think another thing that may make the typical economist ill suited for politics is that the discipline lends itself to those with comparative advantages in the non-interpersonal area. Since we tend to invest in the areas where we have comparative advantages, economists generally (but not always) are a bit lacking in the backslapping/smalltalk/schmoozing skills so vital to political success. It's like the old joke (fill in many quant-heavy academic disciplines in place of economist:

Q: How can you tell you're with an extroverted economist?
A: He looks at YOUR shoes when he talks to you.

The Unknown Professor


Would you class Keynes as a good economist, a bad politician, or what?

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