>

“Economists call for Bernanke to stay?” Not exactly.

“Economists are nearly unanimous that Ben Bernanke should be reappointed to another term as Federal Reserve chairman. . . .” That’s how a Wall Street Journal article begins.

But I couldn’t help but notice that all the quotes in the article (three out of three) were from economists at financial firms. I emailed Phil Izzo, the writer, to ask how many of the economists surveyed worked at financial firms, as opposed to academia or government. He’s had plenty of time to respond and hasn’t, so it’s fair to draw my own conclusion, which is:

This survey is bollocks.

Statistically speaking, it’s likely that at least half of the economists surveyed–probably more–work at financial firms. (For stats geeks only: If it were just shy of half—say, 23 of the 47 surveyed—the chance of having the three quoted economists just randomly happen to work on Wall Street would be slightly under 11%, if I’ve done my math right.) It’s also telling that the surveyed economists didn’t criticize Bernanke for printing oceans of money that nobody knows what to do with, or for setting up another meltdown a few years down the road, or for actions that could be seen as a giant federal power grab—their only criticism was that he hadn’t rescued Wall Street quickly enough.

A survey of economists that excluded any who work at financial firms would have been interesting (and yes, some of them would have supported Bernanke’s reappointment), but instead, all the WSJ survey tells us is that Wall Streeters love the guy who saved their jobs and is making very few efforts to reform the way they do business. They should. And he’s up for reappointment very soon; this article only makes sense as an attempt to advocate for his reappointment.

Aaaaand even as I was putting the final touches on this, I read that Bernanke was just reappointed.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>