Madmen, Intellectuals, and Academic Scribblers: The Economic Engine of Political Change

Wayne A. Leighton and Edward J. Lopez. Stanford Univ., $29.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8047-8097-1
Called the dismal science, economics is most dismal when rendering interesting ideas into leaden and labored language. Political economists Leighton and López tackle the rigorous task of delineating ideas at the root of government policy and discussing the ways these entrenched notions have periodically been uprooted. Their subjects include radio wave licensing, airline deregulation in the late 1970s, 1990s-era welfare reform, and the creation and collapse of the early-21st-century's housing bubble. The authors dissect the first two successes and latter pair of failures in lengthy, meticulously researched terms typical of economists turned political scientists with unfortunately little result beyond truisms about "entrepreneurs of political change." The authors also provide brief introductions to significant Nobel laureate economists whose work remains largely unheralded outside the academy, such as James McGill Buchanan and Ronald Coase. The influential theories of these scholars, however, tends to clash with political reality, a phenomenon described too abstractly for either a satisfying intellectual history or a concise explanation of the economic roots of actual policy making. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 11/01/2012
Paperback - 209 pages - 978-0-8047-9339-1
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-8047-8396-5
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