VotD: Economists in Positions of Authority

Posting has lagged a bit as I’ve been back and forth between collecting and processing archival data. This slower rate of posting will likely continue for a few weeks, at least, though I have a special post planned (an author Q&A) for sometime this month. In the meantime, I might post some shorter snippets that catch my eye… like this chart from Hallerberg and Wehner’s The Technical Competence of Economic Policy-Makers in Developed Democracies. Hallerberg and Wehner are interested in the conditions under which governments are more likely to have technically competent economic policy-makers – understood here as graduate training in economics, though the authors have more measures than just this one – as opposed to policy-makers with stronger political backgrounds (such as previously elected officials). One straightforward finding, to give an example, is that presidential systems are more likely to appoint technically competent finance ministers than parliamentary systems (where ministers are usually themselves elected MPs). This chart does a nice job of showing the relative proportions of advanced economics degree holders among prime ministers/presidents, finance ministers, and central bank heads:

Comparison of the Economic Training of Economic Policy-Makers from Hallerberg and Wehner 2013

Other findings include the sensible one that finance ministers and central bank heads appointed during financial crises are more likely to have technical competence and that left-wing governments are especially more likely to appoint economists during crises. Check out the full paper for details.

Note: VotD stands for “Visualization of the Day,” and may become a recurring (though certainly not daily) feature.

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