Daniel W. Drezner

Political scientists of the world, unite… in sticking it to economists

I had way too much fun delivering my latest commentary for Marketplace, on how economists can go suck it have encountered some setbacks this year compared to political scientists: For decades, there was a clear but unspoken pecking order in the social sciences. Economists were royalty, and every other discipline was part of the peasantry. ...

I had way too much fun delivering my latest commentary for Marketplace, on how economists can go suck it have encountered some setbacks this year compared to political scientists:

For decades, there was a clear but unspoken pecking order in the social sciences. Economists were royalty, and every other discipline was part of the peasantry. Economists were treated as real scholars, with their very own Nobel Prize and everything.

Political scientists, on the other hand, were mocked for having the word "science" in the title. The old joke goes that an economist who switches to studying political science raises the average intelligence of both disciplines. It's not true, but the perception is powerful. Powerful enough for Sen. Tom Coburn to have tried scrapping National Science Foundation funding for "poli sci" earlier this year.

I had way too much fun delivering my latest commentary for Marketplace, on how economists can go suck it have encountered some setbacks this year compared to political scientists:

For decades, there was a clear but unspoken pecking order in the social sciences. Economists were royalty, and every other discipline was part of the peasantry. Economists were treated as real scholars, with their very own Nobel Prize and everything.

Political scientists, on the other hand, were mocked for having the word "science" in the title. The old joke goes that an economist who switches to studying political science raises the average intelligence of both disciplines. It’s not true, but the perception is powerful. Powerful enough for Sen. Tom Coburn to have tried scrapping National Science Foundation funding for "poli sci" earlier this year.

Coburn’s effort failed, however, and for good reason — 2009 was a banner year for political scientists, and a not-so-banner year for economists.

You can listen to the whole thing by clicking here

It’s not an entirely fair commentary to either profession — you try capturing the subtle interplay of these disciplines in under 350 words.  But damn, it was fun to say out loud. 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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