Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Who will replace Romer at CEA?

Some gossip from Ezra Klein and a few bits of history on the extent to which the CEA is just for academic economists and a discussion of the leading candidates at the Christian Science Monitor.

Austan Goolsbee is a good guy but to be honest I would not wish the job on anyone, as it involves standing in front of TV cameras saying things you do not actually agree with because you are part of an administration "team" that makes political decisions, not economic ones. I watched Ed Lazear do this at the end of the Bush II administration and Romer did it too, even on topics related to her own research. Blecch!

I do think it would send an odd signal to appoint a non-academic to head the CEA, particularly for the top position and particularly for an administration that likes to position itself as knowledge-based.

As a loosely related aside, last week I did a one day trip to DC to attend a technical working group meeting. Because I fly a lot, I get to board the DTW to DCA flight early, and then watch and, in this case, listen to, everyone else. One older man, who along with his somewhat younger and clearly subordinate companion, paused for a few moments by my row, said "... I know Larry Summers inside and out, and he is not what we need right now ..." Unfortunately, I did not recognize either party to the conversation and so have no idea what position it was about, but it was odd to hear people on a plane talking about someone I "know" in a loose sense.

Hat tip to Helen Levy on the Ezra Klein piece.

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