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From Vox:

The radical plan to change how Harvard teaches economics

Raj Chetty has an idea for introducing students to econ that could transform the field — and society.

By Dylan [email protected] [email protected] Updated May 22, 2019,

If Harvard has a most famous course, it’s Economics 10.

Not Math 55?

The introductory economics class is reliably one of the most popular courses offered to undergraduates. It’s usually taught in a massive Hogwartsian auditorium, where hundreds of students either dutifully take notes or mess around on laptops as one of the school’s star economists leads them through the basics of supply and demand.

Because Harvard has a tendency to set the pattern for other universities, Ec 10’s textbook is a massive best-seller, used at dozens of other schools, earning its author, professor Greg Mankiw, an estimated $42 million in royalties since it was first released in 1998. Mankiw’s introduction to economics has set the tone not just at Harvard but for how Econ 101 is taught across the country.

Mankiw’s textbook covers the abstract theory that underpins economics as it has been understood for decades. It is about supply and demand, about how prices can be used to match production of a good to its consumption, and about the power of markets as a tool for allocating scarce resources. Students in Ec 10 are asked to plot supply and demand curves, to solve simple word problems about what happens when the mayor of Smalltown, USA, imposes a tax on hotel rooms.

The idea is to impart a basic theory, to lay a foundation for understanding how society works. And that theory strongly implies that markets tend to work without much intervention, and that things like minimum wages might hurt more than help.

But another Harvard economist has a different idea of how to introduce students to economics.

Raj Chetty, a prominent faculty member whom Harvard recently poached back from Stanford, this spring unveiled “Economics 1152: Using Big Data to Solve Economic and Social Problems.” Taught with the help of lecturer Greg Bruich, the class garnered 375 students, including 363 undergrads, in its first term. That’s still behind the 461 in Ec 10 — but not by much.

The courses could hardly be more different. Chetty has made his name as an empirical economist, working with a small army of colleagues and research assistants to try to get real-world findings with relevance to major political questions. And he’s focused on the roots and consequences of economic and racial inequality. He used huge amounts of IRS tax data to map inequality of opportunity in the US down to the neighborhood, and to show that black boys in particular enjoy less upward mobility than white boys.

On the other hand, Chetty’s not very good at noticing interesting patterns in his data. He tends to come up with dull platitudes, which I guess is safe for his career, but kind of a shame when you consider how rich his databases should be for anyone skilled at pattern recognition and at noticing connections between data and the real world.

For example, here’s my 2018 Taki’s Magazine analysis of his data on black income.

My 2017 column “Lost Edisons” on Chetty’s “Lost Einsteins” to find all the black and Hispanic inventors out there somewhere.

My 2017 analysis of Chetty’s data on income by college.

My big 2015 re-analysis of Chetty’s data on the best place to live for your children’s sake: “Moneyball for Real Estate.”

I encourage anybody who likes to analyze social statistics to check out his databases at:

https://opportunityinsights.org/

Of course, Matthews misses the point that Chetty’s quantitative methods in big data analysis course is extremely different from Mankiw’s microeconomic theory course. That’s like saying that this amazing new course, Shakespeare 201, is revolutionizing how English is taught by offering a radical alternative to Composition 101. No, they’re different courses on different topics.

A lot of what Chetty does is closer to my old career, market research, than it is to economics. For example, Matthews writes:

“big chunk of Chetty’s lecture focused on his paper with Adam Looney and Kory Kroft on sales tax salience, the one for which they plastered new sales tax-inclusive price tags on hairbrushes and makeup at a number of California grocery stores. … But most of Chetty’s discussion of the paper was about his methodology, what’s known in economics as a “differences in differences” approach. The key was to compare how sales of unaffected products in the stores changed from the start (26.48 sold per week) to the end (27.32 sold per week) of the experiment to how sales of affected products with the new label changed: from 25.17 per week to 23.87 per week.”

That’s exactly what I was doing for a living at a marketing research firm in the early 1980s: running test markets with a test cell and a control cell and reporting results to consumer packaged goods firms exactly like that. (We actually had a far more sophisticated system for running test markets in 1982 than Chetty has today.)

Perhaps why I’m so much better than Chetty at making sense of Chetty’s own data is my long experience in American market research gave me a toolkit for thinking about his data superior to what economics provided Chetty with.

 
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  1. Never heard of Mankiw. Guess he was after my time. Back in my day the go-to Econ textbook writer was a guy named Samuelson. In fact, my dad used his textbook when he took Econ in the 60’s.

    • Replies: @slumber_j
    , @Forbes
  2. Although Chetty keeps carefully to the politically-correct Narrative whenever he must hazard a theory, his data-driven lectures are a great hidden advertisement for the truth of human biodiversity. His main methodological innovation is that he uses a micro-data-driven approach and does not impose a theoretical framework before plotting and tabulating the data. But if you do this exercise honestly, the reality of human biodiversity should be fairly obvious to the thoughtful student of his work.

    When pressed to give a theory, Chetty tries to bend the data back toward hiding the truth of human biodiversity, but his theoretical attempts are weak and unconvincing. Human biodiversity, that is ancestral-linked genetic differences, is screaming out from the data he has collected as the explanation for the very long-term educational and economic under-performance of African Americans (and sub-Saharan Africans, and Afro-Carribeans).

  3. Lagertha says:

    The problem with Chetty and well, most Uni educated; Ivy League, first generationers; stuff that goes on and on…..and on, always, always, deep sixes the smartest kids who are Americans…founding stock Americans (I am soooo not).

  4. Lagertha says:

    racialism leads to another World War for God’s sake!

    • Troll: dvorak
  5. its author, professor Greg Mankiw

    Do we really want our kids learning economics from Ukrainians?

    big chunk of Chetty’s lecture focused on his paper with Adam Looney and Kory Kroft

    Chetty, Looney, and Kroft. That inspires as much confidence as Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe.

    Another Looney was a big figure in the Oxfordian cult.

    …that black boys in particular enjoy less upward mobility than white boys.

    Cialis can help with that. Four hours at a time.

    Here’s a study-in-the-making, complete with a large sample size, combining micro- and macroeconomic problems– 8000 people walk over the border in a month:

    Canada’s illegal crossings problem quietly continues

    • Replies: @bomag
  6. tsotha says:

    Haven’t Harvard economists done enough damage to the country?

    • Replies: @ic1000
  7. It’s pretty cool that in a time when “Data Science” is such a hot topic right now, an old guy like Steve can have an edge because of what he did in the 80s.

    Wokeness doesn’t just plague politics. There’s often a naïveté to people thrilled to have massive quantities of data and fancy computers and techniques to use them.

    • Agree: Nicholas Stix
  8. BB753 says:

    All that sensitive IRS big data is too good to entrust to scholars who might possibly find out interesting patterns. That is the reason the Government and Harvard chose to boost the academic career of an ambitious intellectual non-entity like Chetty. Anybody else more able and honest would have discovered dangerous results.

    • Replies: @Craig Nelsen
  9. This cool animated data visualization of variable levels of data mobility according to race, produced by the NYT based on Chetty’s data, is “a really disturbing pattern for America” according to Chetty, but I just think it’s hilarious:

  10. The part that amazes me is that the concept of supply and demand is taught to economics students–or to anyone, for that matter. Because virtually no one seems to understand it anymore.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    , @Forbes
  11. Anonymous[150] • Disclaimer says:

    It’s a Chetty-Chetty Man Thang.

  12. Near the end of his blog entry above Sailer states: “Probably why I’m so much better than Chetty at making sense of Chetty’s own data is my long experience in American market research gave me a toolkit for thinking about his data superior to what economics provided Chetty with.”

    Yes Sailer is talented at noticing patterns, but Chetty is no slouch. I suspect the two key differences between Chetty’s and Sailer’s analysis of this data are: 1. Chetty has to conform to the rules of classical scientific and statistical methodology which exist for good reason and constrain him and 2. Chetty cannot engage in anything hinting of “crime think” which limits him massively since the data screams crime think to anyone allowed to think honestly and objectively. He would face the wrath of the SJW mob and his professional colleagues if he spoke honestly about HBD as an explanation.

    • Agree: GermanReader2
  13. Cortes says:

    The author of

    https://brobible.com/life/article/butt-wiping-technique/

    really deserves to be teaching economics at a first-rate institution. Tailored use of resources to human needs.

  14. It’s usually taught in a massive Hogwartsian auditorium

    Says, like it’s a good thing, Jagger’s retarded cousin:

  15. Can’t wait for Chetty to get violently mugged, and produce his penultimate paper: Underclass Blacks F*** EVERYTHING Up.

    • Replies: @bored identity
  16. @HammerJack

    Along with that not seemingly understood, Hammer Jack, I’d add the concept of the “price point”. As discussed in The Price Point at the Field of Dreams, even the local minor league baseball organization doesn’t get it. Charge $12 each, and the family may go to 1 game a month, and the stadium was < 1/3 full, Bring it down to $8 each, and we may go once a week. Which price brings in more revenue? ECON 101, people! (OK Economics 10 if you're at Haaavud.)

  17. Regarding the textbook change for Harvard’s beginning Econ class, I’d guess it’s mostly about switching from teaching about free markets to teaching about the government-interfered-with distorted markets of Socialism. That’s in keeping with the mindset of the student, errr, customer, probably. I mean, “the customer is always right” (Who is the customer, though, the Deep State?)

    I’ll tell you my experience. The 1st Econ class that I took to satisfy humanity requirements was probably like that taught out of Mankiw’s book, except without the DVDs and the great textbook scam that’s netted him the 24 million bucks. The supply/demand stuff and elasticity business all make sense and are very useful concepts. The 2nd class, however, was about government involvement (I think the FED may have been in there), and things just got hazy and stupid very quickly. I attended the 2nd class only 40% of the time and got a B, while my friend went only 30% of the time and got an A. I was pissed.

    (BTW, cutting class was not my thing for my major – I went 100% of the time, even when sick as a dog.)

  18. I went to a lesser B-School, so we only had the Baumol & Blinder textbook.

    Chetty’s economic specialty is separating gullible liberals from their money by drawing inferences they want to hear from the data he tortures. This is the “Sucker born every minute” school of economics.

  19. Liberals always assume that blacks want to be like them.

    Chetty, in a reverse mirror way is exactly right when he observes that “black boys in particular enjoy less upward mobility than white boys”.

    Think about it for a moment.

  20. Mankiw’s textbook covers the abstract theory that underpins economics as it has been understood for decades. It is about supply and demand, about how prices can be used to match production of a good to its consumption, and about the power of markets as a tool for allocating scarce resources. Students in Ec 10 are asked to plot supply and demand curves, to solve simple word problems about what happens when the mayor of Smalltown, USA, imposes a tax on hotel rooms.

    ‘Never touch the money system! Never touch the money system!’

  21. ic1000 says:
    @tsotha

    > Haven’t Harvard economists done enough damage to the country?

    Are you referring to Russia in the time of Yeltsin, the U.S, or both?

  22. bomag says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    A major (Canadian) newspaper comes out with an editorial against immigration.

    I didn’t think it was possible.

  23. Arclight says:
    @Peter Johnson

    Yeah – isn’t this a case in which a man’s job depends on not noticing certain things? Chetty would be treated like Charles Murray if he made some of the connections Sailer has with his data, and not many people can stand to be treated with the vitriol and outright hatred that would come.

    • Replies: @Peter Johnson
  24. Anon[361] • Disclaimer says:

    Big data is just a big pile of data.

    If you have a representative sampling method, less data would do.

    If your sample is not representative, increasing data points is in fact deleterious. Confidence intervals get narrower, all p values become smaller.

  25. bomag says:
    @Peter Johnson

    Chetty has to conform to the rules of classical scientific and statistical methodology which exist for good reason and constrain him

    I’ve always considered classical science to be non-political; let the chips fall; not bow to outside pressure.

    Science has always had political pressure to some degree; it just seems that many scientists today embrace political pressure with a little too much glee.

  26. TGGP says:

    A lot of what Chetty does is closer to my old career, market research, than it is to economics.

    Gabriel Rossman concluded it resembled his own (different) job.


    Why economics has so much more prestige than sociology is something that sociologists have been debating somewhat recently. Sociology deals with a lot of questions that people are interested in, but the media pays much more attention when a famous economist acts as “imperialist” in colonizing some of that field.

  27. @TGGP

    Traditionally, economists attempt to use rigorous analytical methods informed by data while traditionally sociologists are more inclined toward soft social-philosophy type writing. Because of that sociologists have sullied their reputation as social scientists and are not expected to have any reliable empirical content in their work. Also, political-motivated propaganda-writing is conventionally frowned upon in economics but encouraged in sociology.

    • Replies: @TGGP
  28. @Arclight

    Absolutely true. Consider the animated chart showing top-quintile African American family’s children dropping down en masse into the bottom and near-bottom quintiles as adults. If Chetty were to pause for a second in his lecture while staring at this chart, and speak aloud the obvious implication “that certainly looks like it has a genetic cause rather than something environmental” the whole institution would turn on him like a swarm of fire ants. He was poached from Harvard by Stanford and then poached back by Harvard, but if he spoke honestly like that he would end up teaching at Slippery Rock State College (no offense to SRSC alum).

  29. “Raj Chetty has an idea for introducing students to econ that could transform the field.”

    This is doubtful since the entire field of Econ (save Austrian School proponents) is really nothing more than people who have sold their souls. Hence the “playing it safe” modus operandi.
    If ones thoughts and ideas re: Econ are anything outside of the allowed paradigm, they will be marginalized (at best. Mises and Rothbard come to mind here).

    ” — and society.” Well, yes, but probably not in the ways many/most of us would like (shades of Sunstein and “Nudge”). We shall see.

    Obviously, my bias is showing for the Austrian School and I readily admit it. Until someone, anyone, can refute Mises’ “Human Action”, I will remain a so-called “crank”. Proudly and happily.

    Rant over.

  30. res says:

    Not Math 55?

    Different kinds of fame (which you realize, of course ; ). The article is talking about enrollment numbers. So by that metric the two most famous Harvard courses are EC10 and CS50:
    https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2017/9/11/course-enrollment-2017/

    It is fun to contrast the CS50 philosophy with Math 55.

    CS50:

    By default, the course is now graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis by default, and Harvard administrators and CS50 instructors have repeatedly stressed the importance of academic integrity in lectures so far this semester. More than 60 students in the course last year faced academic dishonesty charges.

    Math 55:

    David Harbater, a University of Pennsylvania mathematics professor/researcher, and student of the 1974 Math 55 section at Cambridge, recalled of his experience, “Seventy [students] started it, 20 finished it, and only 10 understood it.”

    Regarding this:

    Probably why I’m so much better than Chetty at making sense of Chetty’s own data is my long experience in American market research gave me a toolkit for thinking about his data superior to what economics provided Chetty with.

    Is your style of market research taught anywhere in universities? Is this an area of study that is so financially valuable that the “good stuff” really does not make it into courses and tends to be more trade secrets?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  31. slumber_j says:
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    Yeah, they used to use Samuelson back in my day, before Mankiw showed up.

    It’s usually taught in a massive Hogwartsian auditorium, where hundreds of students either dutifully take notes or mess around on laptops as one of the school’s star economists leads them through the basics of supply and demand.

    Well, not really. Unsurprisingly, Ec 10 is in fact taught in smaller sections where graduate students do all the actual teaching: this is Harvard after all. At least that’s the way it was in the 80s, and I’m pretty sure it still is.

    The big lectures in Sanders Theater were for show, and absolutely none of that material was on the exams. You went to those if you felt like breathing the same air as JK Galbraith or whoever for a little while.

    Of course, Matthews misses the point that Chetty’s quantitative methods in big data analysis course is extremely different from Mankiw’s microeconomic theory course.

    Unless they’ve changed things, Ec 10 is a year-long introductory course that covers both micro and macro. But yeah: Chetty’s course is not that at all, and not a substitute for it either. That piece is founded on an utterly moronic premise.

  32. My favorite economics professor dropped dead of a heart attack while giving a scam artist lecture on economics.

    Remember, we don’t have capitalism, we have central banker shysterism. Economics professors are paid to lie like whores about this or that and they know they’re rancid whores for the ruling class.

    Economics professors are some of the worst scum ever created.

    This disgusting baby boomer dirtbag Tory skunk named Douglas McWilliams loves drugs and whores and globalization and financialization and sovereignty-sapping trade deal scams and nation-wrecking mass legal immigration and illegal immigration.

    Douglas McWilliams was a top adviser to former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Never trust Limey’s whose names both end with an “E.” Always trust Americans who have surnames that end with a double “TT.”

    Douglas McWilliams is a crack smoker and a whore attacker. McWilliams attacked a whore for some nasty reason that shall remain undivulged, it’s on the internet if you’re interested. That is not nice, but it is something you’ll find economics professors and economy advisers doing on a regular basis.

    Trump has an economic adviser named Larry Kudlow. Kudlow is a self-admitted drug addict. Kudlow pushes mass legal immigration and illegal immigration. Kudlow was a big supporter of the George W Bush and Neo-Conservative Iraq War debacle.

    Tweet from 2015:

    Tweet from 2014:

  33. It’s amazing how the discussion in the US hasn’t moved one iota since the 1960s. It’s still the White-black gap. Ignoring that there are now more non-black non-Whites in the US. Ignoring the rapidly growing and prosperous Asian group, which Chetty is part of. It’s like an echochamber.

  34. L Woods says:
    @TGGP

    Ditto with political science.

  35. “Probably why I’m so much better than Chetty at making sense of Chetty’s own data is my long experience in American market research gave me a toolkit for thinking about his data superior to what economics provided Chetty with.”

    This issue isn’t unique to economics/market research. Back in the 1970s a friend of mine had been bouncing around among the graduate departments of mathematics and physics at MIT, Princeton and Harvard. When he grew tired of academia he took a job studying turbulence for a large contract engineering firm. He later told me that although he’d studied partial differential equations (PDEs) for many years in an academic setting, he obtained much novel knowledge when he worked for this company. They had developed a fund of jealously guarded proprietary information regarding PDEs and their practical application to turbulence. None of this had ever appeared in journals or textbooks or presentations at professional conferences. I suspect that this and similar situations still exist across areas involving lucrative applications of mathematics and physics.

  36. I never heard of Math 55 my freshman year. The kids who were good at math (had taken BC Calculus in high school) took Math 21. I sat in for a week, and figured, um, this is hard. So I took Helen Vendler’s poetry class instead: an excellent choice. The roommate of a friend of mine, who was a math whiz, took Math 25. I only learned of the legend of Math 55 later.

    Didn’t they call Econ 10 “Social Analysis 10” in the 1980s? The fall (microeconomics) was interesting, but the spring (macroeconomics) just seemed like voodoo to me; still does.

    • Replies: @slumber_j
  37. Forbes says:
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    Mankiw was Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Bush (43) during the second two years (’03-’05) of the Bush administration.

  38. Forbes says:
    @HammerJack

    They (all colleges) keep teaching microeconomics with graphs–as an abstraction. Note the Vox article that cites making students draw supply and demand graphs. And not just supply and demand curves, e.g. production possibilities curves, marginal cost curves, price elasticity curves, etc., etc. et cetera.

    The step from abstract graphing, and the underlying math, to reality is a gulf to far for most–even Harvard students. Except Harvard students are likely to be sufficiently focused and diligent to learn graphical manipulation without having to absorb a conceptual understanding–rote memorization is a useful skill in college.

    Nearly 20 years ago, Thomas Sowell wrote his book, Basic Economics, with no graphs and no equations. But, in fairness, it was directed at the lay public, not the college textbook market.

  39. Intro Economics is popular at Harvard for one, and only one reason:

    The kids want high paying jobs on Wall Street. Taking this course is the first step. Period. The end.

    If those Wall Street jobs weren’t there a few people would still sign up for intro econ courses. Probably fewer than would sign up for intro botany, but some would still be there. But the popularity of econ has nothing to do with its intrinsic practical importance to the human endeavor, or the intrinsic beauty of its ideas, and everything to do with getting those high payin’ wall street gigs. It is a whore of a discipline, whose importance to young people is completely out of proportion to its actual value to society.

    Raj is probably revamping the course/textbook because he wants a piece of those textbook royalties.

    • Agree: Triumph104
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  40. L Woods says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_imperialism

    The tyranny of this ruinous, parasitic bullshit discipline needs to be thrown off like the Mongol yoke, its hierarchy and pretensions eradicated like bloody Nineveh. Or at last, to a much-humbled rump like Carthage between Punic Wars 2 and 3.

  41. Curing Cancer is Hard.

    “I felt increasingly what we’re doing in our offices and our research is just totally detached from what we’re teaching in the intro classes,” Chetty says. “I think for many students, it’s like, ‘Why do I want to learn about this? What’s the point?’”

    “It’s very different from the sciences, where as a kid you have a sense, it may not be very precise, but that people try to cure cancer,” he continues.

    He wants to give students a sense of the kind of economics that cures: that cures inequality, that identifies and fixes bad schools.

  42. @SimpleSong

    Harvard doesn’t offer a Business major, so kids who would major in Business at Arizona State major in Economics at Harvard. A Quantitative Methods in Data Analysis course under the guise of Economics is useful for their future jobs.

    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
  43. @Steve Sailer

    A close relative was faculty in the Harvard Economics Department two or three decades ago. He taught the undergraduate econometrics courses. While he was at Harvard economics was regarded as a gut major, right up there with sociology and grievance studies. A large portion of the Harvard hockey team regularly wound up in his econometrics course

    • Replies: @Triumph104
  44. @res

    If you are an undergrad, you can study things like Advanced Quantitative Methods in Market Research at second tier colleges, like state flagships. The hiring test I took in 1982 was Prof. Gerry Eskin of the U. of Iowa’s final exam for a 300 level course. It was a beast of a test that I worked on for maybe 3 or 4 hours. The secretary who was overseeing my taking it kept remarking that most job applicants wrapped it up in 90 minutes or so.

    But when they scored it the next day, the CEO immediately called me and invited me in for a full day of interviews. About 8 years later, the EEOC challenged its use in our hiring for Griggs reasons. Stupidly, we didn’t pay the money to try to validate it, we just got rid of it, and the quality of our new hires seemed to be lower afterwards.

    But you can’t major in Business or Finance or whatever at Harvard. You can at Penn and a few other elite private colleges, but not at most. So Economics is the usual choice.

  45. @TGGP

    If sociologists wanted to cut economics down to size on their campuses, they should support creating a Business major. That would take away a big fraction of the Economics majors.

    • Replies: @EdwardM
  46. That’s exactly what I was doing for a living at a marketing research firm in the early 1980s

    When’s the last time you did something for a living?

    • Replies: @Desiderius
  47. @BB753

    Harvard chose to boost the academic career of an ambitious intellectual non-entity like Chetty.

    You are probably right. Today’s economists are as monolithic in their subservience to the powerful as the nation’s history departments.

    A year or so ago I was browsing through StackExchange’s economics section and came across one of those “industry would collapse if all the illegals were deported” arguments. This particular one was in a study of the nation’s dairy industry, widely reported, which concluded with the claim that, were all illegals deported tomorrow, the price of milk for consumers would roughly double.

    I know this is bullshit, so I took the time to look up the official data: what percentage of a typical dairy farm’s non-family labor costs goes into the cost of a gallon of milk, what percentage of dairy workers are illegal, what is the difference in hourly wages for illegal and legal dairy labor, and what percentage of the cost of a gallon of milk in the supermarket goes to the farmer.

    Sure enough, if all illegals were deported tomorrow, the actual change in the price of milk in the supermarket would go from something like $2.69 per gallon to $2.84 per gallon. Most consumers wouldn’t even notice it, and, if they did, they could console themselves with being relieved of the financial burden of educating the children of the illegal dairy workers.

    So, I posted my findings, with the data and sources, that the reported near doubling of the price of milk was wrong and noted that the organization that had commissioned the widely reported bogus study was the National Milk Producers Federation, which is located in the heart of dairy country, Arlington, VA on Washington DC’s Orange Line.

    I expected the apparently professional economists who populate the economics section at StackExchange to take some sort of academic schadenfreude in seeing successful colleagues debunked, but I was wrong. Instead, I was immediately attacked with the same sort of brainless vehemence you might expect if you posted on the faculty message board at any math department in the country that the narrower range in IQ variation among females accounted for there being so few female Fields Medal winners. These were zealots I was dealing with, not economists, and my post was “closed” by numerous users for being in violation of community posting requirements.

    There was a long back-and-forth between me and the community, which included the conversations being “moved” here and there, my posts immediately garnering scores of down votes whenever I posted, and me being banned for a week by the moderators.

    But no one ever refuted my original post, no one, that is, until, finally, a heavyweight on the site weighed in and refuted my post by acknowledging I was right:

    https://economics.stackexchange.com/questions/18509/analyzing-farm-bureaus-claim-that-milk-prices-would-double-at-the-retail-level

    Chetty has been successful in a profession that resembles a priesthood rather than a discipline.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  48. @Craig Nelsen

    Actually, Chetty is extraordinarily good at getting his hands on vast piles of data that nobody thought were available. That’s a real talent.

    • Replies: @Craig Nelsen
  49. dvorak says:

    Mankiw’s textbook covers the abstract theory that underpins economics as it has been understood for decades. It is about supply and demand, about how prices can be used to match production of a good to its consumption, and about the power of markets as a tool for allocating scarce resources. Students in Ec 10 are asked to plot supply and demand curves, to solve simple word problems about what happens when the mayor of Smalltown, USA, imposes a tax on hotel rooms.

    Dylan Matthews shows himself to be a political hack here. He knows nothing. He’s aggressively stupid.

    Economics, like anything, should be as simple as possible and no simpler. The analysis of taxes in Microeconomics 101 is a great example of a profound truth found through simple math.

    The “deadweight loss” calculated by 101 students is real and profound. And Dylan Matthews is a political hack who has been rendered stupider than a freshman by his maniacal anti-racist worldview. He hates Ec 10 because it causes racism.

  50. @Redneck farmer

    Make 7-Eleven Lobby Miserable Again Rule # 1;

    If you’re US residing NRI/PIO/PoC/PoS, you will not be eligible to access any US Mother Lode Data under any circumstances.

    Make 7-Eleven Lobby Miserable Again Rule # 2:

    If you’re US residing NRI/PIO/PoC/PoS recipient of something called
    Padma Shri, but you simply can not resist to lecture Americans about Race,Inequality & Social Mobility, your PoS status has been permanently confirmed:

    https://www.hindustantimes.com/books/jayanta-mahapatra-returns-padma-shri-protesting-intolerance/story-JRTZHWq1fjJClaEzoM3SoO.html

    http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=114952

    https://learningindia.in/nri-pio-oci/

  51. TGGP says: • Website
    @Peter Johnson

    Sociology was lumped in with the “grievance studies” in that recent Sokal imitation, but it should be noted that sociology journals never accepted any of their papers. The reason is because sociology is a positivist discipline, you can’t just BS your way through it that easily. There are debates within the field about trying to verify ethnography data, but it’s not full of the navel-gazing of “auto-ethnography”.

  52. @Steve Sailer

    Yes, getting one’s hands on figures is a talent, but is it a talent of the economist or the priest?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  53. @Craig Nelsen

    Is it a talent of the economist or the priest?

    Or a market researcher?

    My old boss made a fortune by being the first market researcher in the world to figure out, in 1980, how to use supermarket scanner data in products that big consumer packaged goods manufacturers would routinely pay for. All the analyses had already been dreamed up by B-School academics in the 1970s working with toy datasets, but he figured out how to get his hands on huge amounts of representative real world data. Big Data logistics were a massive challenge in the 1980s.

    • Replies: @Craig Nelsen
  54. @Steve Sailer

    Yes, market researchers provide a useful product. I’m not sure whether priests do, but I know economists don’t. A few minutes ago, I received a message from the moderators of the economics section of StackExchange banning me for a year. Thou shalt not blaspheme the Holy Science of Economics, nor mock the keepers of its mysteries.

    Your account has been suspended for 1 year.

    Regards,
    Economics Stack Exchange Moderation Team
    add a new private reply
    from CWill
    to EconJohn ♦;Kitsune Cavalry ♦;Ubiquitous ♦

    https://economics.stackexchange.com/questions/18509/analyzing-farm-bureaus-claim-that-milk-prices-would-double-at-the-retail-level/18598

  55. @TGGP

    If sociologists wanted to cut economics down to size on their campuses, they should support creating a Business major. That would take away a big fraction of the Economics majors.

    • Replies: @Craig Nelsen
    , @L Woods
  56. @Steve Sailer

    they should support creating a Business major.

    This is actually a great idea, Steve, but substitute a Great Books program for the useless pap taught in the typical business courses. Rather then have kids learning case studies of what worked or didn’t work for this or that corporation yesterday (which is already ancient history), let them learn about humans. After all, business is just “Hi, human. I value that, and you value this, let’s swap.”

    I’d wager you will learn more about human valuing by studying Homer’s Iliad than you will by studying McDonald’s corporate strategy last year. So there would be an actual real world value to a Great Books business degree. Not only that, but it would once again be possible to become an educated human by attending college, since a Great Books business major could be pursued free from the lethal enemies of humanity who have taken control of the nation’s humanities departments.

    • Agree: BB753
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    , @Anonymous
  57. L Woods says:
    @Steve Sailer

    That would reduce the number of bones in seats, but would do little to combat the grossly unmerited cachet the discipline enjoys in halls of power.

  58. @Craig Nelsen

    Very interesting proposal. All these stories of execs getting rolled by SJWs illustrate how unworldly those execs are. Nothing like great literature (and great preaching) to cure that.

  59. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Craig Nelsen

    I want a Troublesome Books degree.

    Lysander Spooner, Smedley Butler, Lenni Brenner, books that are genuinely disliked by the powers that be.

  60. @Jus' Sayin'...

    In the 1980s, most of the Duke men’s basketball players majored either in economics or political science.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  61. slumber_j says:
    @Holly Martins

    Didn’t they call Econ 10 “Social Analysis 10” in the 1980s?

    Nope, it was Ec 10.

    The kids who were good at math (had taken BC Calculus in high school) took Math 21. I sat in for a week, and figured, um, this is hard. So I took Helen Vendler’s poetry class instead: an excellent choice.

    Yeah, I’d realized I was gonna quit math precisely because of BC calculus in high school: suddenly math required effort. So I did.

    My wife, who graduated from Harvard three years after me, is a more honorable person in almost every way and decided to keep plugging away: she took Math 21 freshman year and walked away in great distress with the first D of her life.

  62. anon[825] • Disclaimer says:

    Perhaps why I’m so much better than Chetty at making sense of Chetty’s own data is my long experience in American market research gave me a toolkit for thinking about his data superior to what economics provided Chetty with.

    The reason your analysis is better than Chetty’s is that you are not blinded by ideological dogma and cowering in fear of banishment from a succesfull career track.
    The scholastics who wasted their lives arguing about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin weren’t dummies. They were the geniuses of their day, blinded by dogma and cowering in fear of their colleagues. I assume Chetty is like this or he would be talking about genes.

  63. EdwardM says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Agree. Similarly, at Cornell, there is no business major. The business school on campus is graduate-level only. Students major in economics, or, for those in the state schools, something like agriculture economics, industrial and labor relations, or policy analysis and management. I guess it’s from a quaint notion that a business major doesn’t fit the liberal-arts focus that a university should convey — although the other majors I mentioned don’t, either, so I don’t really see why they don’t offer a straight-up business B.S. I guess they still see a business major as unseemly.

    Ec 10’s textbook is a massive best-seller, used at dozens of other schools, earning its author, professor Greg Mankiw, an estimated $42 million in royalties since it was first released in 1998.

    Incredible. Econ 101 textbooks seem like a commodity. Sure, a careful reading could reveal one to be better than another, but “the abstract theory that underpins economics as it has been understood for decades” must appear more or less equivalently in dozens of reputable textbooks. I suppose the herd mentality, and lack of price-sensitivity in the college textbook market, can end up with a winner-takes-much outcome. Do professors get kickbacks of any kind when they direct the purchases of hundreds of books per term? (At least there must be a robust market for used versions of the book.)

    In any event, good for him.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  64. @bored identity

    One of the surefire ways of identifying a SJW thoughtholder is hearing them publicly reference Harry “Pussy” Potter (Eric Cartman dixit).

  65. @EdwardM

    Yes, that would be a funny topic for economists to research: why isn’t Mankiw only about as rich as the average wheat farmer (the occupation beloved of Econ 101 parables about Perfect Competition)?

  66. @Peter Johnson

    Which rule “of classical scientific and statistical methodology” does Chetty adhere to which Sailer does not?

    • Replies: @Peter Johnson
  67. BB753 says:

    Economics doesn’t really explain or describe the economy at all, the same way the teachings of Political Science have nothing to do with real-life politics. It’s plain BS or wishful thinking at best.

  68. @Triumph104

    I thought you were kidding, so I looked up the majors of the starting 5 of the 1986 team that won more games than any other in Duke history and made it to Coach K’s first championship game. It turns out you are correct. There were 2 political scientists (Bilas and Dawkins) and 3 economists. Bilas is a lawyer as well. As Duke started to recruit more dummies such as Bobby Hurley, they had to go down a notch and major in sociology. Criminal Justice is also popular.

  69. @Almost Missouri

    The rule of model parsimony – a scientific model (particularly in social science) must be as simple as possible but no simpler. When conversing informally with colleagues, Chetty can draw speculative conclusions based on various disconnected observations, but in front of 500 undergrads in a formal lecture he probably feels that he should stick to scientifically justified statements. That requires some simple formal model and some linked statistical testing is available to back it up. He can “spitball” (speculate) but would probably issue a brief caveat first to warn the students — as he does occasionally in these lectures.

    Of course the main difference is that Chetty must carefully ensure that anything he says is politically correct, and Sailer is not constrained by that. That is the overwhelming difference.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  70. @Peter Johnson

    Agree that Chetty aims for political correctness, while Sailer does not, but as for parsimony, it would seem to be Sailer who adheres to this while Chetty violates the principle in favor of even greater political correctness.

    Model parsimony comparison:

    Chetty: If you move from this zipcode to this other zipcode at this certain time, then there will be these certain results that by some metaphysical alchemy happen to correspond to the reigning, but self-contradictory, doctrines of fashionable political correctness. Sort of. (I can be hired at great expense to explain these noble truths your undergraduates. Contact my agent.)

    Sailer: Genes matter. Again.

    • Agree: Peter Johnson
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