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Lunch Seminar: Gilles Saint-Paul - PSE & NYUAD
Thursday 30 May 2019, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

Useful Idiots or Manipulators? Some Examples of Non-neutrality of Economic Experts


In this work in progress, I challenge the standard view that the government maximizes social welfare on the basis of objective information provided by experts, such as economists. In this view, the experts are perfect agents: they provide unbiased information on the welfare effects of policy. Consequently, since information has a positive value, experts contribute positively to the people's welfare. Instead, I argue that expertise is an input into a political process. Its ultimate effects depend on how each interest group uses the information provided by the expert. Therefore, it maybe counterproductive to deliver studies independently of the decision process; conversely, an expert who understands this process may manipulate it to fit his own agenda.


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