Monday, 17 June 2019

Can’t think? Don’t worry: you’re probably suited to running a “think tank”…:-)

People who are under-represented in economics, i.e. women and ethnic minorities, have been getting upset recently about the latter fact and have been demanding more representation for those two groups in economics.

Speaking as a white male, I’m all for women and ethnic minorities having more say in economics if they’re really up to the job. Indeed I would never dream of questioning some womens’ competence in economics, e.g. Frances Coppola, Caroline Sissoko or Islabella Kaminska.  Though obviously I sometimes disagree with those individuals on specific points.

But “pluralism for the sake of it” looks like getting out of hand. A nice example is the head of a London based economics think tank who is black and female. Advocates of diversity and pluralism will have been thrilled to pieces at her appointment. Only trouble is that she does not actually seem to have any interest in economics: at least when Googling her name I couldn’t find one single article by her, and she does about one Tweet a week. I.e. her output is approximately one thousandth that of Frances Coppola’s.

I’m not going to actually name her or the think tank concerned, in case I get sued, but you’ll be able to find it easy enough.

This supports the point I made in this blog some time ago, namely that the evidence seems to be that women tend not to be as interested in economics as men.

It could of course be argued that the head of an organisation is mainly concerned with administration rather than producing ideas. Well that idea won’t wash, at least not with me. Mervyn King, former governor of the Bank of England clearly had an interest in and wrote about unorthodox ideas in economics while playing the role of respectable, conservative and orthodox head of a central bank. Same goes for Ben Bernanke.

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