From "AEA [American Economics Association] Ideology
," by William A. McEachern (Econ Journal Watch
, January 2006
One way of summarizing the findings is by showing those populations with no Republican contributors, those populations with one Republican contributor, and those populations with two Republican contributors, as is done in Tables 1, 2, and 3. . . . Among the entire eligible set listed in the three tables, the overall tally is 182 Democrat contributors to 10 Republican contributors [among advisory board members, officers, editors, and contributors to the American Economic Review, AER Papers & Proceedings, Journal of Economic Literature, and Journal of Economic Perspectives]. Democrat contributors filled 182 of a possible 1,583 slots, or 11.5 percent. Republican contributors filled 10, or 0.6 percent. . . .
For the 2,000 AEA member sample, the ratio of Democrat-to-Republican donors was 5.1 to 1. . . .
What’s the harm of having extremely high Democrat-to-Republican contribution ratios among those involved with AEA publications, especially among the discretionary journals? The Association recognized the possible harm more than 80 years ago when the Certificate of Incorporation called for “perfect freedom of economic discussion.” Recall that campaign contributors are also more likely to be politically engaged in other ways. We should not expect editors, referees, authors, reviewers, and acknowledgees who have contributed to campaigns to just turn off that mindset in their dealings with the Association’s publications.
As an example of possible harm of a lopsided political representation, consider the absence of a Republican contributor among the 247 book reviewers with U.S. affiliations appearing in the Journal of Economic Literature in 2003 and 2004. A JEL review will likely be the most visible, if not the only, review some books will ever receive. Couldn’t the same political sensibilities that motivated a reviewer to contribute to Democrats also shape his or her assessment of a book? . . .
But loading the dice, however unintentionally, with 20 Democrat contributors and no Republican contributors seems unfair to some authors and unhealthy for the profession. . . .
Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University and research director at the National Endowment for the Arts, has argued that:
Any political position that dominates an institution without dissent deteriorates into smugness, complacency and blandness. . . . Groupthink is an anti-intellectual condition, ironically seductive in that the more one feels at ease with compatriots, the more one’s mind narrows (2004). . . .. . . The AEA claims to be the “organ of no party.” That is, of course, true de jure, but contributor ratios that favor Democrats 9.5 to 1 among regular AER authors and 38 to 1 among authors in remaining publications at least raise a question whether the Association is de facto an “organ of no party.”
Thus, we read this
, by noted economist William J. Baumol (also from Econ Journal Watch
, January 2006):
There are, actually, at least two very good reasons why the entrepreneur is virtually never mentioned in modern theory of the firm and distribution. The first is that innovation is an entirely heterogeneous output. Production of whatever was an invention yesterday is mere repetition today. So that entrepreneurial activities do not incorporate the homogeneous elements that lend themselves to formal mathematical description, let alone the formal optimization analysis that is the foundation of the bulk of micro theory.
The more critical explanation of the absence of the entrepreneur is that in mainstream economics the theory is generally composed of equilibrium models in which structurally nothing is changing. Equilibrium models exclude the entrepreneur by their very nature. . . .
That's true, as far as it goes. But Baumol goes on to say this:
My conclusion is not that the neoclassical theory is wrong in excluding the entrepreneur, for it is dealing with subjects for which she is irrelevant. But that does not mean that no theory of entrepreneurship is needed. . . . It would, in my view, be as indefensible to require all micro writing to give pride of place to the entrepreneur as to exclude him universally. . . .
But universal exclusion condemns us to leave out of our discussions what I consider to be the most critical issues that should be examined (though not exclusively) in microeconomic terms: the determinants of innovation and growth and the means by which they can be preserved and stimulated. . . . Why have the relatively free-market economies in the past two centuries been able to outstrip, probably by more than an order of magnitude, the performance in terms of growth and innovation, of all other forms of economic organization? The answer is not merely matter of pandering to what Veblen called the economic researcher’s idle curiosity. Rather it is the missing underpinning for growth policy in both the developed and the developing world.
A somewhat less "Democrat" profession would try harder to account for entrepreneurship, without which economic growth would be impossible.