Economists in the mix

April 22, 2005

There is some truth in Nick Pearce's complaint about social scientists' reluctance to get involved in public policy-making ("Mix in with mandarins", April 15), but I'm not sure it applies to economists.

Many Whitehall chief economist positions - including at the Department of Health, the Department for International Development and the Inland Revenue -are now held by former academic economists, as are the top jobs at the Bank of England, the Competition Commission, the Office of Fair Trading and Ofcom. And research institutions like the Centre for Economic Performance and the Institute for Fiscal Studies are deeply involved in the design and evaluation of a range of government policies, including in education, taxation and the labour market.

Romesh Vaitilingam
Royal Economic Society

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