Economists suggest putting Decision Making at Arms Length from Politicians

Leah K Stewart's picture
Tim Harford, author of 'Undercover Economist' and other excellent book shared insight on what Economists would recommend if they really had the level of policy influence that, he says, we all think they do...

"As a card-carrying economist, I have never been convinced that politicians are the puppets of economists. Still, the idea seemed worth exploring, so I called up some of the country’s most respected economists and presented them with this scenario: after the election, the new prime minister promises to throw his weight behind any policy you choose. What would you suggest?
Less surprising is that several economists suggested structures that would put decision making at arm’s length from politicians, delegating it to technocrats with the expertise and incentives to do what is right for Britain. The technocracy already has several citadels: the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the Competition Commission and the regulators of privatised utilities. My advisers wanted more of this. That is economics for you: when a political genie offers you whatever policy wish you desire, why not simply wish to have more wishes?"

Full article right here.

Would love some further thoughts from you all on this angle. Is this the kind of thing we are imagining with a "College of Teaching" or whatever it might be called?
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Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 29/04/2015 - 11:05

Interesting that many of the economists advocated more borrowing and 'considerably more investment' in infrastructure. I'd add education to that list - it's an investment in the future and schools shouldn't be faced with the type of budget shortfalls which are causing real problems as the Guardian pointed out.

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