Political Language in Economics

67 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2014 Last revised: 31 Oct 2018

See all articles by Zubin Jelveh

Zubin Jelveh

New York University

Bruce Kogut

Columbia Business School - Management

Suresh Naidu

Columbia University

Date Written: September 17, 2018

Abstract

Do empirical estimates in economics reflect the political orientation of economists? We show that policy-relevant parameters are correlated with economist partisanship as predicted from the text of published academic papers. Specifically, we predict observed political behavior of a subset of economists using the phrases from their academic articles, obtain good out-of-sample fit, and then predict partisanship for all economists. We show considerable sorting of economists into fields of research by predicted partisanship, and yet can detect differences in partisanship among economists even within a field, even across those estimating the same theoretical parameter. Using policy-relevant parameters collected from previous meta-analyses we then show that imputed partisanship is correlated with estimated parameters, such that the implied policy prescription is consistent with partisan leaning. For example, we find that going from the most left-wing authored estimate of the taxable top income elasticity to the most right-wing authored estimate decreases the optimal tax rate from 84% to 58%.

Suggested Citation

Jelveh, Zubin and Kogut, Bruce and Naidu, Suresh, Political Language in Economics (September 17, 2018). Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 14-57. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535453 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2535453

Zubin Jelveh

New York University ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

Bruce Kogut (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Suresh Naidu

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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