Lies, Damn Lies, and Economics

It was brought to my attention today that this article appeared in our local respectable free weekly, The Coast. Now, I don't have any problem with this publication (some of my best friends are editors/writers!), and I don't have any issue with the topics it covers. Quite the opposite: This is the row I have to hoe every day in my job, part of which entails the actual generation of economic impact figures for government and non-government types. The problem, as you'll see here, is in understanding the terminology around economic impact and "drawing the fence" around the impacts to understand which impacts are incremental on the local economy, and whether the results are, in fact, reasonable. And depending on who uses the numbers and for what reason, this matters a great deal.

Read on, and you'll understand what I mean.



Source: The Coast



And, in case you wanted to know what that embedded picture was....



Anyway, as an economist, I'm always having to defend my trade (though it's not worth trading for much these days, it seems) to others, both at work and outside. At least these days people are asking for the economist's opinion, whether or not they believe what they get.

These are interesting times to be an economist.

Someday we may actually command more respect than weather forecasters.

Posted bythemikestand at 10:00 AM  

1 stepped up to the mike:

HalfAsstic.com said... 4:24 PM, September 14, 2009  

Mfike, I have to admit, I had no idea economics were cool until I got to know you and had it pointed out for me.
Thanks! ;-) (still giggling)

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