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Bottom Line Blinder

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Alan Blinder's been making waves by fretting about outsourcing. But here's the bottom line, via Mankiw:

After the Blinder-Bhagwati debate last week, there was a dinner at the Harvard Faculty Club at which Ben Friedman asked Alan a good question: Now that Alan has had this epiphany about offshoring, does he favor economic policies any different than he favored a decade ago? Alan thought about the question for a moment and then said no. I found that answer reassuring. My fear is that many politicians reading Alan's work on offshore outsourcing will not come to the same conclusion.

Since I extensively relied on Blinder to illustrate my book's claim that economists agree to amazingly extent, I have to admit I'm relieved.

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The author at Trade Diversion in a related article titled Crook on Blinder writes:
    Clive Crook: Lately, though, Mr Blinder has been emphasising the downside. Perhaps he has found this arouses more interest. At the moment, as the title of his newest article indicates, he is anxious more than excited. “These forces,” he points out,... [Tracked on May 10, 2007 7:56 AM]
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spencer writes:

It is amazing the amount of commentary we are seeing from people who claim Blinder is saying something he is not saying.

Bill Kruse writes:

Blinder's answer that his policy views have not changed from 10 years ago was basically a sop to fellow economists. He seems mainly intent on using his new position on outsourcing (as well as his recent signing of the minimum wage letter) to improve his position as a potential advisor to a Democratic president (he already has the ear of the sainted Obama, apparently), economics be damned.

Mankiw, in his post, provides plenty of good reasons why Blinder's new view is hogwash, although he doesn't call it that. Unfortunately, Blinder's position on outsourcing will be gleefully pounced on by Lou Dobbs, Richard Trumka and every other protectionist yahoo, and may also do its bit to promote some really damaging legislation starting in 2009. Way to go, Professor.

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