Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Baker: The Perils of Economic Thinking about Human Behavior

There's a very high risk to taking the typical economist seriously when they advocate in favor of education reform policy, especially when it comes to the attempt to use economic carrots and sticks to motivate higher test scores.

Bruce D. Baker points out the fallacy fairly eloquently (in his typical style):

"...many...economists operate in a world where they can influence/control public policy and they too have an incentive in how they behave in this system. They are not impartial observers by any stretch of the imagination. Their goal is to use their economic research to shape public policy to their own advantage.

"Put simply, just because the average morally bankrupt economist might do pretty much anything for an extra buck (or a billion), doesn’t mean the average teacher, doctor, nurse, fireman or police officer would!"

The Perils of Economic Thinking about Human Behavior | School Finance 101