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6 percent . . . not bad!

- February 25, 2009

Tyler Cowen links to this report that “economists comprised only 6 percent of guest appearances discussing stimulus on cable news, Sunday shows.”

That sounds pretty good to me! I can’t imagine that political scientists make up anything close to 6% of the TV commenters on political topics. I doubt it’s 0.6%. My recommendation to economists: quit complaining and treasure the 6% you have!

Related: Why are there so few economists in elected office?:

There were 139,000 economists employed in the United States, which reprsented 0.1% of the employed population. 1% of 535 is about 1/2, so with at least two economists in Congress, the profession is hardly unrepresented. . . . even throwing in economics professors and various other practicing economists, I still don’t think it would add up to the half-million that would be necessary to reach 2/535 of the employed population. . . . perhaps Congress would indeed be better if it included more economists–but rather to note that people with this sort of job are a small minority in the U.S. (In contrast, there were 720,000 physicians, 170,000 dentists, and 2.1 million nurses, and 1.7 million health technicans in the U.S.)

To put it another way, without reference to economists (or to the 2.1 million “mathematical and computer scientists” out there): the Statistical Abstract has 260,000 psychologists. Certainly Congress would be better off with a few psychologists, who might understand how citizens might be expected to react to various policies. . . . and what about the 114,000 biologists? A few of these in Congress might advance the understanding of public health. And then there are the 290,000 civil engineers–I’d like to have a few of them around also. I’d also like some of the 280,000 child care workers and 620,000 pre-K and kindegarten teachers to give their insight on deliberations on family policy. And the 1.1 million police officers and 340,000 prison guards will have their own perspectives on justice issues. . . .