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Why We Need More Economists

Summary:
The economics profession should not be so defensive toward critics who blame it for rising inequality. Insights from the dismal science – and in particular economists' advocacy of market-based policies to boost prosperity – have proven their worth many times over. LONDON – In a recent commentary in The New York Times, Binyamin Appelbaum placed the blame for increasing inequality in the United States squarely at the feet of economists. He cited the work, among others, of the Nobel laureate economist Robert Lucas, who directed policymakers’ attention toward the problem of growth and away from redistribution. Appelbaum also cited statistics on life expectancy in the US, which has fallen in recent years, owing partly to

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The economics profession should not be so defensive toward critics who blame it for rising inequality. Insights from the dismal science – and in particular economists' advocacy of market-based policies to boost prosperity – have proven their worth many times over.

LONDON – In a recent commentary in The New York Times, Binyamin Appelbaum placed the blame for increasing inequality in the United States squarely at the feet of economists. He cited the work, among others, of the Nobel laureate economist Robert Lucas, who directed policymakers’ attention toward the problem of growth and away from redistribution. Appelbaum also cited statistics on life expectancy in the US, which has fallen in recent years, owing partly to higher rates of drug abuse and suicide among economically disadvantaged groups.

But economists have not ignored the problem of inequality – far from it. Inequality has become a central research area in economics over the past decade, and has entered the public discourse in the US because of the

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