"Philip Inman (Scene of the crime, G2, 18 February) describes the complicity of economics academics in the crash. They were responsible for providing an intellectual gloss for reckless and maybe criminal behaviour. ...They circulated their legitimising patina in the house journals of their club: the leading economics journals beloved of the US and UK business schools.Mr. Cushman's claims are backed up by academic research on the history and sociology of economics. If I recall correctly, Geoffrey M. Hodgson and Harry Rothman1, for example, demonstrate the self-referential and closed nature of the supposedly "leading" journals in economics.Frederick Lee2 adds to the documentation of the unwillingness of mainstream economists to cite non-mainstream economists with empirically validated analyses of the British Research Excellence Framework (REF). In my reading of Lee, the REF is leading to less excellence in British economics, at least if your measure is an ability to understand actually existing capitalist economies.
These journals, a key part of the conspiracy, continue to cast their shadow. It is almost impossible for economists to get employed or promoted in leading economics and management departments like LSE without publishing in these "A-grade" journals. ...It is the same self-referential circulation of authority that underpinned the collateralised debt obligations and other key instruments of the credit bubble. Essential research income is allocated through the Research Excellence Framework by reference to success in those same publications and adjudicated by those who edit and publish in those journals.
Scholars who will not act as shills for the banks and reinforce the Panglossian orthodoxies, and instead promote critical analyses, are rarely welcome in these journals and thus increasingly not welcome in universities... The REF (Research Exalting Finance) is a dangerous, flawed mechanism, at least in economics and management: an ideological straitjacket disguised as a fair and unbiased assessment." -- Mike Cushman
1 Geoffrey M. Hodgson and Harry Rothman. "The Editors and Authors of Economics Journals: A Case of Institutional Oligopoly?". Economic Journal, V. 109, Iss. 453 (Feb. 1999): pp. 165-186.
2 Frederic Lee. A History of Heterodox Economics: Challenging the Mainstream in the Twentieth Century.