The University of Chicago’s New Institute of Politics

David Axelrod is giving back to the University of Chicago.   Do the Beltway and the Midway offer synergies?  I am happy to see that Austan Goolsbee will be actively involved but this doesn’t sound like my “pure” UC.   At UCLA, I am delighted to have Gov. Michael Dukakis as my next door office neighbor each winter.   Students can certainly learn from having more interactions with “real world” policy makers.   As academic economists learn over and over again, those ideas that look good on a chalkboard (i.e carbon tax) can be hard to implement in a partisan age where side payments are hard to target.   What  I mean by that is the economists often point to ideas that offer the “winners” more than the losers lose but we have trouble compensating the losers for their losses as the losers are not dumb and they block the “Hicksian pareto improvement“.  


Author: Matthew E. Kahn

Professor of Economics at UCLA.

4 thoughts on “The University of Chicago’s New Institute of Politics”

  1. Quite so. And to make matters worse, the rhetoric of Kaldor-Hicks often disguises pure wealth redistributions, generally from those with less wealth to those with more wealth.

  2. If the losers block something, doesn’t that mean they know you aren’t really going to compensate them? Or they don’t trust you, which is the same thing.

    1. James–

      That’s very nice. If it’s original, may I suggest dropping the “badly”? Perhaps in favor of “tightly,” or perhaps just being dropped outright. Then the metaphor would generalize to those with fixed income, those with relatively fixed location (duh), the difficulty of changing careers at an advanced age, and so on– no disparagement of the prior arrangement need be made.

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