Who Economists Really Work For

When economists advise the government, their vision may be clouded by their own financial interests, say two University of Massachusetts professors.

Two years after the economy careened to the brink of Armageddon, a key question remains: How did so many smart economists miss the financial crisis? ... The nation’s top academic economists—who advise policy makers, testify before Congress, and publish influential papers and articles—are also much sought after by the financial industry as speakers, consultants, and corporate board members. Though typically portrayed as independent experts, they can reap huge fees from financial firms, including those that profited during the housing and the credit bubbles.

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