In my new favorite blog from Stanford Economist John B. Taylor we get a great dose of reality about the value of ideas. In a great blog post responding to the charge that Chicago School economists wrecked the economy, Professor Taylor shows graphically how that charge simply cannot be true. The graph below shows the number of University of Chicago, Harvard, and MIT economists on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers:
The only question I had after viewing the graph was, “well, yeah, but what about other policy makers?” He answers that too:
The data are robust when you look beyond the CEA to other top posts normally held by PhD economists. All assistant secretaries of Treasury for Economic Policy appointed during the Bush 43 and Obama Administrations had PhDs from Harvard. During the same period, all chief economists appointed to the IMF had PhDs from MIT, and, except for Don Kohn, who was promoted from within and Susan Bies who was appointed as a banker, all PhD economists appointed to the Federal Reserve Board were from Cambridge MA.
So the crash? Blame it on Harvard.