In a recent opinion piece in Bloomberg, Noah Smith writes that economics--and the public stars of the field--are shifting leftwards. Overall, economics has moved away from unfettered advocacy of free markets to focus on inequality, human welfare and the ways that markets break down.
New tools and models have played a part: game theory, models of asymmetric information decision theory, learning theory and behavioral economics have poked holes in the old assumptions. But Smith sees the greatest transformation in the leading public personas of economics: Milton Friedman has been replaced by Paul Krugman, at least according to Smith and George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen.
We are interested in what economics can tell us, and therefore interested in how the field is evolving and why. Do you think economics as a whole has moved to the left? If so, what's driving the change?
Smith ends his piece suggesting that one reason for the shift could be the chief problems facing the economy. In Friedman's era the economy was beset by high taxes, inflation, heavy regulation, and powerful unions. Today the chief concerns are rising inequality and economic insecurity.
-- Jie Hu