1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

Who Are These Nobel Prize Winning Economists Supporting Bush or Kerry?

Nobel Economists for Bush vs. Nobel Economists for Kerry

By

It has been said that if you put 10 different economists in a room together and ask their opinion on an proposed economic policy, you'll receive at least 11 different answers. Then it should come at no surpise that Nobel Prize laureates are divided on which Presidential candidate is best for the future of America: George W. Bush or John Kerry.

On August 25th 2004 10 former Nobel Prize winners in Economics signed a letter supporting John Kerry that began with the text:

    President Bush and his administration have embarked on a reckless and extreme course that endangers the long-term economic health of our nation. John Kerry understands that sound economic policy requires a substantial change in direction, and we support him for President.
(A full PDF text of the letter is available here).

In response a letter supporting George W. Bush was signed by 368 economists, 6 of them Nobel Prize laureautes. The letter stated in part that:

    John Kerry has expressed a general reluctance to reduce trade barriers. He has promised, if elected, to "review existing trade agreements." He vows not to "sign any new trade agreements until the review is complete and its recommendations [are] put in place." That's a prescription for political gridlock. Given the widespread benefits of unfettered trade, Kerry's trade policies would harm U.S. producers and consumers alike.

    All in all, John Kerry favors economic policies that, if implemented, would lead to bigger and more intrusive government and a lower standard of living for the American people.

(A full text of the letter is available here).

These two letters led many to ask, "Why should I believe any of these economists? Do they really know more about the situation than the average informed voter?"

In order to have enough information to answer these questions, we need to know who these economists are and what they have studied. It would also be helpful to know why they signed one of the letters and theie views on the election in general.

First we will examine these issues for the 6 former Nobel Prize winners in economics (Milton Friedman, Ed Prescott, Gary Becker, James Buchanan, Robert Mundell, and Robert Lucas) who signed the letter supporting Bush. Then we will examine the 10 former Nobel Prize winners in economics (George Akerlof, Daniel McFadden, Kenneth Arrow, William Sharpe, Daniel Kahneman, Lawrence Klein, Douglass North, Paul Samuelson, Robert Solow, and Joseph Stiglitz) who signed the letter supporting Kerry.

Next: Three Economists That Support Bush.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.