What do you think of Daron Acemoglu?
Since he is a mainstream economist at MIT, I should be inclined to take a critical stance to be consistent with my themes. Acemoglu has written so many papers that I do not feel that I can have a comprehensive view. Maybe I should read up on the summary that must have accompanied his 2005 John Bates Clark medal.
Acemoglu writes on political economy and political science topics I think of interest - for example, power, coercion, social networks, innovation, governance, and economic development. The conclusions he and his colleagues reach are not necessarily a whitewash of capitalism. I've been trying to read, for example, Glenn Ellison and Alexander Wolitzky's paper, "A Search Cost Model of Obfuscation", in which more-or-less competitive firms deliberately put clauses hard to understand in contracts, thereby making it difficult to compare products and to obtain, for example, payouts on warranties, insurance, etc. Most of the papers I've read by Acemoglu and his colleages seem to tell just-so stories with game theory, a branch of mathematics I think can be fascinating. Empirical accounts can be used to illustrate the theories, but I wonder whether the theories are passing potentially falsifying tests. As an exemplar, I take Acemoglu, Egorov, and Sonin's accounts of incidents in the history of the Soviet Politburo in their 2008 Review of Economic Studies paper, "Coalition Formation in Non-Democracies".
7 months ago