Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Economic Slings and Arrows


As a higher-education reformer also committed to the promotion of free markets, I recently discovered that I had neglected a constructive solution right before my eyes.

Academic economists are not the worst source of hostility to markets, but many disdain capitalism. They also fill their top journals with mathematically complex irrelevancies (financed by the taxpayer).

Economist Dan Klein started Econ Journal Watch to call the profession to task. The online, peer-reviewed journal pricks the self-importance of the economic establishment. Addressing specific journal articles, it challenges the assumption of “market failure” that leads to so much regulation. (Disclosure: I am an editorial adviser, although mostly inactive.)

Now in its fifth year, the journal appears to be a success. Its citation record exceeds that of the Southern Economic Journal and is slowly creeping toward the well-ranked Journal of Political Economy. Downloads of articles typically number around 1,000; one analyzing the New York Times columns of Paul Krugman has had 19,000 hits.

To me, EJW exemplifies one way of countering the left-wing bias of our campuses. (I understand that the discipline of history has Historically Speaking, which offers at least some challenges to the status quo.)

For higher-education reformers, the question is: How can these journals have more impact?


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