Factcheck: 170 Leading Economists Support Bernie Sanders

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I’ve been seeing this on Facebook for a few months.  It is being promulgated by “Occupy Democrats.”  You can see it by clicking here. This is my factcheck: 170 leading economists support Bernie Sanders.

I got the list of 170 names into Excel.  (Click here for the file.  This is an Excel macro-enabled worksheet, an .xlsm file.)  I then read each name and affiliation, classifying each one into one of three categories:

  1. I do not remember ever hearing this individual’s name.
  2. Have heard the name.  This includes names I vaguely remember but don’t remember the context.
  3. Probably not an economist.  I based this judgment on personal knowledge (Prof. Robert Reich) or an evaluation of their institutional affiliation.
  4. Affiliated with a well-known left-wing institution.

And the results are:

"Top Economists"

“Top Economists”

Explanation of the Results

Of the 170 names on the list, I recognized four.  Another 26 are probably not economists.  I found nine that are affiliated with known liberal and left-wing organizations.  (The Center for Economic Policy Research and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst are two examples.)

I owe my readers an explanation about Prof. Robert Reich.  The last time I checked Prof. Reich had stopped calling himself an economist.  He has further lost access to that title by his incessant support for increasing the minimum wage, unionization at any cost, and a host of other policies that would only cause the current economy-wide malaise to get even worse.

But the truly appalling figure is the 131 names I did not recognize.  I do not claim to know the names of all the economists in the world.  But I do my best to keep up.  My factcheck: probably false.


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About Tony Lima

Retired after teaching economics at California State Univ., East Bay (Hayward, CA). Ph.D., economics, Stanford. Also taught MBA finance at the California University of Management and Technology. Occasionally take on a consulting project if it's interesting. Other interests include wine and technology.