Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 6 No. 3 (Summer 1992)


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Economists as Public Policy Advisers

Article Citation

Hamilton, Lee H. 1992. "Economists as Public Policy Advisers." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 6(3): 61-64.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.6.3.61


As a member of the Joint Economic Committee for over 15 years I have had ample occasion to observe economists testifying. When I was Chairman of the Committee in the last Congress, for example, we held over 100 hearings and heard from at least that many different economists. From this experience, I have developed some views about how economists can be effective witnesses and, more generally, how they can make a useful contribution to economic policy. For me, the most important quality for economists to have when they are testifying or advising policymakers is the ability to express their ideas on important policy issues clearly and simply, without jargon. There is an art to telling policymakers what they need to know but don't want to hear. An economist who wants to contribute to the policy-making process needs to be a good salesman—but not a snake-oil salesman. I encourage more economists to take an active interest in public policy and to contribute to the debate on the economic issues.

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Hamilton, Lee H. (US Congress)

JEL Classifications

A11: Role of Economics; Role of Economists


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