Recently Esther Duflo’s Economist as a plumber speech made huge waves in economic circles. Earlier Keynes had suggested economists to be humble and competent like dentists and also added various qualities for an economist.
However, all these attributes put economists and their craft on a pedestal over other social sciences (0r studies?).
In this superb post written from the lens of history of economic thought, Alessandro Roncaglia explores this idea of economist as an expert.
The author says we can divide the role as three types:
- A prince who leads from the front say an economist as a Prime Minister/Finance Minister etc.
- A servant who makes policies on behalf of the government
- A citizen who engages with the public writing and debating actively on policy issues.
The author says increasingly economists are seen in the first two categories but they should try and remain in the third one:
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