Geoff Hodgson has compiled some reactions (pdf) to the recent Nobel Prize in Economics for RWER. These reactions are from the web forum/message board Economics Job Market Rumors, which is read by grad students, post-docs, et al. in the PhD econ world. Comments on any web forum, especially anonymous, should be taken with a large grain of salt. I wonder, though, to what extent these comments are representative.
Some of them are just misogynistic:
This girl seems to be a political scientist. I dont think she has published original research in any major economics journal…
The fact that most of us have not heard about her says enough about her contributions…
Some are dismissive of her work:
Multidisciplinary?? Other disciplines are all rubblish [sic]. Why let them conteminate [sic] our purity? […]
Economics is superior. Don’t let political science conteminate [sic] us!
And, thankfully, others are corrective:
Seriously, this is a sensible and insightful award to an original and careful researcher whose work is widely cited precisely because it is original. To those of you who have never heard of her: you might start by asking why your lazy micro teachers inflict a narrow range of material on you that typically consists of selected papers from their own back catalog,
the work of their buddies and one or two classics they themselves were forced to swallow in grad school. To those of who complaining that’s she’s never published in your favorite ‘top journal’: yes, despite that shameful handicap she is one of the most cited social scientists around, by economists and non-economists alike. […]
These postings really do show the narrow training of many economists. In fact, economics departments in most universities are highly isolated places in the larger world of social science. To trash a scholar as serious and insightful as Ostrom is a shame.
What if the commons is actually an important field of study and the fact that most of us never read anything about it during graduate school is something that economic theory lecturers should take into account when formulating their syllabi?
Most of the reactions I’ve read in the blogosphere have been overwhelmingly positive. I know I read that some of U of C were chaffed by the whole thing (Fama was the fav, after all). So, what are others’ experiences; are people in and around economics depts excited about this award? Mad? Reflective?
My hope is that this Nobel leads to the sort of introspection in that last comment. My fear is that the discipline, through various self-selection mechanisms, has been populated with more narrow-minded people (most of whom are probably not sexist), who believe that neoclassical economic theory should always carry the day.