$100K fee to noted economist got Uber research published in prestigious outlet

$100K fee to noted economist got Uber research published in prestigious outlet

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

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Ought to bought-and-paid-for company white papers get printed below the auspices of the venerable Nationwide Bureau of Financial Analysis? That is the query raised by new disclosures from the Uber recordsdata leak.

State of play: A major NBER research paper c0-authored by Alan Krueger, the previous chair of the White Home Council of Financial Advisers, was revealed final week to have been paid for by Uber as part of a production line of political ammunition that could be fed to politicians and the media,” within the phrases of Guardian investigative reporter Felicity Lawrence.

Context: NBER, greater than a century previous, is among the most venerable financial establishments on the earth. It is funded largely by U.S. authorities businesses, but additionally by a broad vary of companies and foundations. There isn’t a extra prestigious venue wherein to publish financial analysis.

By the numbers: Uber paid Krueger $100,000 for the controversial 2016 examine, which has been cited by 981 scholarly articles so far. A cost of that magnitude “is not trivial and is relevant,” one high-profile economist tells Axios.

  • The cost, to an economist who was broadly beloved inside the career, has been described as troubling and distressing by teachers on Twitter.

For the report: In a press release to Axios, NBER spokesperson Charlie Radin stated that “the NBER’s research disclosure policy requires all of the authors on any working paper disseminated by the NBER to disclose any financial interests that bear on the paper’s content.”

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  • Whereas not saying explicitly that the disclosure was ample, Radin was at pains to level out that “Krueger’s consulting relationship with Uber” was disclosed.
  • That disclosure, in full: “Krueger acknowledges working as a consultant to Uber in December 2014 and January 2015 when the initial draft of this paper was written.”

The way it works: Seth Harris, one other White Home economist and a frequent Krueger co-author, tells Axios that he has by no means accepted any cash from Uber.

  • Harris did as soon as write a paper-for-hire, he says, however it was not for Uber and it was printed straight by the group, not by a scholarly outlet.

Flashback: The 2011 documentary “Inside Job” famously grilled former Fed board member Ric Mishkin on a 2006 examine he wrote entitled “Financial Stability in Iceland,” for which he was paid $124,000.

  • Extra lately, the Revolving Door Mission has urged rather more transparency about the place one other former White Home economist, Larry Summers, makes his cash.

The underside line: It’s commonplace for corporations to pay economists to write down analysis that then will get printed by the corporate itself. When the analysis seems in tutorial shops, nonetheless, the present disclosure regime can really feel inadequate.

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