It's about RAND, so I have no comment


I'm thinking of starting a new category: Interesting conversations I can't join because of my work.

The first entry would be the recent essay by Edward Fulbrook entitled "The RAND Portcullis and PAE" in the Post-Autistic Economics Newsletter. Snip below the fold:

Following the second world war, the United States increasingly came to determine (one might say dictate) the shape of economics worldwide.... engineered in significant part by the US Department of Defence, especially its Navy and Air Force.... Arrow�s early research had been partly, in his words, �carried on at the RAND Corporation, a project of the United States Air Force�.... In 1965, RAND created a fellowship program for economics graduate students at the Universities of California, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Chicago, Columbia and Princeton, and in addition provided postdoctoral funds for those who best fitted the mold. These seven economics departments, along with that of MIT - an institution long regarded by many as a branch of the Pentagon - have subsequently come to dominate economics globally to an astonishing extent....

For the QJE it found that the eight departments with the most articles were the seven favoured through RAND by the US Department of Defence plus MIT, and that this Big Eight accounted for 77.3 per cent of the articles published. In the JPE all of the RAND Seven were in the top ten and, together with MIT, accounted for 63.1 per cent of the articles published. In the AER the top eight contributing departments were again the RAND Seven plus MIT, which together accounted for 59.3 per cent of the articles published....


Sorry for the almost total non-sequitor, but where the quote mentions "the United States increasingly came to determine (one might say dictate) the shape of economics worldwide" I couldn't help but wonder what the other side was doing then. Didn't the Soviets create their own parrallel international economic system at the same time? How did it work - was it administered or structured in ways that are informative to us now?

Ironically, since the fall of communism we probably have better access to the inner workings of the Soviet policy process at the time than we do our own.

For example, in the 60's, how was US economic policies/aid aid to Franco's Spain different than Soviet economic policies/aid to Cuba?

A number of newly indpendent African countries were courted via economic policies/aid by both sides then, and by the Chinese as well, before the Cultural Revolution hobbled them. How did that work out for them - and for us?

Is anyone doing work in this area that you can point me to?

Sorry, again, for the off-topic.

Wow, that is a non-sequitor. So let me talk past you too. I think it is partly true that "the US" (i.e. academics in U.S. departments) came to dominate and shape the discipline of economics because of defense spending on pure economic research. What the Soviets were doing in terms of economic research is an interesting question, although one you didn't ask.

More to the point, I'm not certain what we know of the actual, real-world Soviet economic policy process, either domestic or international. And I know even less about how "comparative systems" has fared in the post-Soviet era, although the idea of "comparative international aid" analysis seems to be something that should have been investigated.

I'll ask my wife (a Russian who studies the Russian economy past and present) about these things, but if I don't comment again here, it's because I have no good answers for you.

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin published on July 5, 2005 4:50 PM.

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