Are economists to blame for our current state of affairs? That’s the argument Binyamin Appelbaum makes in his book “The Economists’ Hour.” In this episode, Kate and Luigi debate the history of economists, the problems with economics today, and what changes could lead to a better economic future.



In a democracy, the ultimate responsibility for a country’s military strategy belongs to civilian leadership. When it belongs to the military officials, we call it “dictatorship.” But what about a system in which economists, and not elected officials, are the ones who decide economic policy? 


In the new episode of Capitalisn’t podcast, Kate Waldock (Georgetown Univerisity) and Luigi Zingales (University of Chicago Booth) discuss the role of economists in Western democracies with New York Times editorial board member Binyamin Appelbaum. 


According to Appelbaum’s recent book The Economists’ Hour, before the 1960s American politicians hadn’t paid much attention to economists. But as the post-World War II boom began to sputter, economists gained influence and power. The outcome of economists’ takeover on politics has been a disaster, according to Appelbaum. 



Binyamin Appelbaum is the lead writer on business and economics for the New York Times’ editorial board. He joined the Times‘ editorial board in 2019. From 2010 to 2019, he was a Washington correspondent for the Times, covering the Federal Reserve and other aspects of economic policy. He is the recipient of a Polk Award and a Loeb Award, he has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in public service. Appelbaum was born and raised in the Boston area. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and he previously worked for newspapers in Jacksonville, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., Boston, and Washington. He officially joined the Times team in 2010.



Also, you can watch a conversation between Appelbaum, Chicago Booth professor Eric Hurst, and Vanity Fair contributing editor (and ProMarket editorial board member) Bethany McLean, a joint event of the Stigler Center and the College’s Law, Letters, and Society Program. 



ProMarket also recently reviewed Appelbaum’s book. Find the article here



The ProMarket blog is dedicated to discussing how competition tends to be subverted by special interests. The posts represent the opinions of their writers, not necessarily those of the University of Chicago, the Booth School of Business, or its faculty. For more information, please visit ProMarket Blog Policy.