Those Right-Wing Economists
| Peter Klein |
Several posts below allude to arguments by Jeffrey Pfeffer, Sumantra Ghoshal, and others that economic models and concepts (agency problems, transaction costs, opportunism, and the like) are taking management theory in the wrong direction and are harmful to management practice. A subtext of these arguments is that economists are ideologically biased toward the free market, against community and informal social ties, and toward cynical, atomistic, and even “reactionary” views of human nature. (Even if we’re not actually dismal.)
Surveys of economists’ political preferences reveal a more complex picture, however. A forthcoming article in Public Choice by Daniel Klein and Charlotta Stern analyzes a 2003 American Economic Association member survey:
The responses show that most economists are supporters of safety regulations, gun control, redistribution, public schooling, and anti-discrimination laws. They are evenly mixed on personal choice issues, military action, and the minimum wage. Most economists oppose tighter immigration controls, government ownership of enterprise and tariffs. In voting, the Democratic:Republican ratio is 2.5:1.
A Democratic-to-Republican ratio of only 2.5 to 1 may seem shockingly low to our colleagues in sociology or cultural studies, but hardly seems to indicate pervasive “right-wing” bias.