Thursday, June 20, 2013

In Defense of Me

My new paper on the One Percent has generated a fair amount of Internet commentary.  I won't respond to the critics. Time is scarce, and I am busy with other projects. For better or worse, I will leave the paper to speak for itself. (I should note that my paper is part of a forthcoming JEP symposium. I have not seen all the other papers, but from what I have seen, the symposium should offer a good, balanced group of perspectives.)

Regarding all that Internet commentary, I did enjoy this defense from Matt Nolan.  Nolan was apparently a reader of my favorite textbook early in his life.  His defense of me begins as follows:
When it comes to looking at policy, I started life fairly heavily left wing. When I started university at the age of 18, my first textbook was by Greg Mankiw. He was a Republican, while most of my economics reading at the time had been Marxist or a frustrated attempt at reading the General Theory by Keynes. I was immediately certain that I would hate the textbook, and that it had no value – at that point I was even more immature than I am now ;)  
I was utterly and totally wrong – a situation I have become accustomed to. Mankiw’s first year textbook is clear, to the point, and is honest about what the economic method is and what it achieves. He “wears his assumptions on his sleeve” which I have learnt is the distinction of the best type of economist. His textbook, and his papers on macroeconomics and tax, have been insightful for me as a way of not just understanding economic ideas, but of understanding the economic method.
Thanks, Matt!