Thursday, January 19, 2006

New science and old science

In this morning's WSJ Letters to the Editor, Andrew Morriss responds to a recent op-ed by James Heckman. The latter wrote a policy piece advocating early schooling for disadvantaged children. Morriss worries that the education establishment, notably the teachers' unions, will make a hash of this and invites readers to ponder the insights of public choice economics.

Take anyone's list of the top-100 economists or the top 100 economic policy papers, and it is a safe bet that most pay no attention to the public choice insight.

When new science devastates old models, what to do but ignore it? It has happened before.