"...the University of Massachusetts Amherst ... department of economics ... is well known as the hangout of left-wing critics of economics and economic policy..."Notice Rodrik doesn't write that they are critics of "neoclassical economics" (or "orthodox economics" or " mainstream economics"). Don't they do economics of some sort at Massachusetts? Don't they make suggestions for economic policy? Can a mainstream economist even acknowledge the existence of heterodox economists?
I've seen comments like Rodrik's before. I am skeptical of the whole notion of "anti-economics". A serious scholar would acknowledge the existence of divisions in his field, not pretend some with a different approach are merely outsiders or critics.
(I do know that, like Notre Dame, UMass has a good lacrosse program.)