Many policymakers, journalists, and members of the public at large are intimidated and mystified by the discipline of ecomics. The efforts of ecomists to make sense of interrelated, dynamic markets have lead to theoretical models and an analytic methodology that few outside the profession can begin to understand. Unfortunately, a pervasive ecomic illiteracy contributes to public confusion in public debates and confounds attempts to develop good policy. Policymakers and journalists who misunderstand ecomic concepts or are unaware of ecomic uncertainties make good decisions by accident rather than design. In this volume, edited by Jeffrey Madrick, many leading ecomists debunk conventional wisdom while clarifying distinctions between concrete evidence and theory that often fits poorly with real-world realities. Authors and topics include New York University's Edward N. Wolff on wealth inequality, Anthony Carnevale and Stephen Rose of the Education Testing Service on inequality and the new high-skilled service ecomy, Cornell University's Robert H. Frank on rational choice theory, Ohio State's Richard H. Steckel on indicators of health and quality of life, and James Crotty of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst on international capital controls.
Jeff Madrick is Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He is the editor of Challenge magazine and author of The End of Affluence: The Causes and Consequences of America's Economic Dilemma (Random House, 1997).