The Forsaken-Liberty Syndrome: Looking at Published Judgments to Say Whether Economists Reach a Conclusion


  • Written for a special issue of the American Journal of Economics and Sociology on the contributions of dissident economists, edited by Daniel Sutter.
  • Acknowledgments: For valuable comments I thank Jason Briggeman, Tyler Cowen, and Robert Whaples and for proofreading, Hannah Mead.


Do economists reach a conclusion on a given policy issue? One way to answer the question is to survey economists at large. Another is to look at the published judgments of economists who have gone on the record. Relative to an anonymous survey, going on the record makes for much greater accountability, and presumably more personal responsibility. I discuss 11 studies of economists’ published judgments. Several of them show greater support for liberalization than found among economists at large. This is offered as evidence of what I call the forsaken-liberty syndrome. I discuss the nature of this test of such syndrome and point to some of the larger questions to which it relates.