Monday, January 30, 2017

Economists as artisans, doctors, entrepreneurs...dentists, engineers and plumbers

Is metaphor a verb? If so, a number of writers have taken Esther Duflo's recent Ely Lecture, "The Economist as Plumber,*" as an invitation to metaphor. The essays below add to the stock of metaphorical economists, in which you can find economists as artisans and craftspeople, weather forecasters, doctors and medical scientists, entrepreneurs, and of course as dentists, architects, engineers and now plumbers.

Here's Tim Harford (initially in the FT but now ungated on his blog The Undercover Economist):
Why economists should be more like plumbers

And here's Beatrice Cherrier, whose blog is called The Undercover Historian:
From physicists to engineers to meds to plumbers: Esther Duflo rediscovering the lost art of economics @ASSA2017

* and here's the video of Esther's Ely Lecture
AEA Richard T. Ely Lecture: The Economist as Plumber: Large Scale Experiments to Inform the Details of Policy Making Esther Duflo, introduced by Alvin E. Roth  View Webcast

Update: here's the NBER working paper The Economist as Plumber
(And here's the interesting acknowledgements, which identifies some master plumbers...)

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