5 thoughts on “anonymous econ grads behaving badly”

  1. The conversations between economists about this year’s Nobel are really interesting in that they say a lot about the underlying assumptions most economists have about the academic world. If I’m not reading too much into this….

    Their view of academic quality is very much informed by the orthodox view of markets – markets are efficient and therefore the price of something is the true price of that item. Information is immediately incorporated into the price of an item and so there’s nothing that you can learn about the quality/supply/demand of a particular item that isn’t already incorporated in the price. They must assume that information in the academic market works in the same way. If you’ve never heard of someone or have never read their work (or if they’re not currently employed by a top 5 economics department), it’s because their work is not of sufficient quality to deserve mention. Never having heard of someone is proof that they don’t deserve the Nobel. If they were worth knowing, you’d already know about them.

    Sociologists would just start throwing out theories about why we’ve never heard of their work (e.g., niches, networks, discrimination, etc.).

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  2. steve levitt had a very mature reflection about that thread. he admitted that like these econ grad students he was not previously familiar with ostrom, but he said that on having her work brought to his attention he really liked it and thus the ex ante situation was his ignorance rather than her obscurity.

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  3. Thanks for the post.

    What struck me most as I read through the first few pages of comments was the number of comments that were pretty disparaging of women in economics (and in academia more generally). I’m guessing that other dark horse winners of the Nobel haven’t gotten the reaction of “Prof X must have gotten it because he was male/a man.” None of the posts in the first few pages of comments argued that this is an inappropriate line of criticism. And at least one comment referred to Dr. Ostrom as a “girl”! Although this attitude toward women is not entirely surprising, it is very dispiriting for me to read that a younger cohort of academics is willing to publicly offer such sexist views. It is hard to imagine that the people posting these comments and holding such attitudes will treat women colleagues and graduate students without any bias.

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