In his new book, “Advice and Dissent: Why America Suffers When Economics and Politics Collide,” Princeton University economics professor Alan S. Blinder addresses the widening gap between the views of economists and politicians. A member of President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, Blinder argues that economists tend to focus on the benefits of economic efficiency while ignoring the human costs of their policy prescriptions. But politicians, he writes, use economics “for support, not for illumination,” seeking out economic advice that will support preconceived notions rather than provide objective evaluations.
At this event, Blinder discussed his book, providing proposals for improving the relationship between economics and politics to design effective public policies as well as examples of successful “joint ventures” between economists and policymakers.
A book signing followed the presentation. Copies of the book were available for purchase courtesy of the Rice University Campus Store.
6:00 p.m. — Reception
6:30 p.m. — Presentation
Alan S. Blinder, Ph.D., is the Gordon S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He is also vice chairman of the Promontory Interfinancial Network and a regular columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Blinder served as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve System’s board of governors from June 1994 to January 1996. He previously was a member of President Bill Clinton’s original Council of Economic Advisers from January 1993 until June 1994. In that position, he was in charge of the administration’s macroeconomic forecasting and also worked intensively on budget, international trade and health care issues. During the 2000, 2004 and 2016 presidential campaigns, he was an economic advisor to Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, respectively, and he continues to advise numerous officeholders and members of Congress. He is the founder of Princeton’s Center for Economic Policy Studies and served as its director or co-director from 1989 to 2011. Blinder is the author or co-author of 20 books, including his latest, “Advice and Dissent: Why America Suffers When Economics and Politics Collide” (Basic Books, 2018), and has written scores of scholarly articles. He frequently speaks to financial and other audiences and has appeared on PBS, CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg TV, among other news outlets. Blinder received his AB from Princeton, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, all in economics.