Commentary on Political Economy

Tuesday 10 October 2023

BOURGEOIS ECONOMICS has been a shambles for years, having long desisted from even pretending to explain the nature and essence of capitalism. Now, at last, the Nobel Prize for Economics has been awarded to a complete nonentity! The only truth about this absurdity is that, by so doing, the bourgeois economics profession has entirely avowed its total irrelevance.

 The Challenge of Understanding Outcomes

The Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences has been awarded to Harvard economist Claudia Goldin “for having advanced our understanding of women’s labour market outcomes.”

Among her many achievements is a study Ms. Goldin co-authored with Cecilia Rouse, who chaired President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers for two years ending last spring. In 2019 in the Journal, Christina Hoff Sommers described their work:

It is one of the most famous social-science papers of all time. Carried out in the 1990s, the “blind audition” study attempted to document sexist bias in orchestra hiring. Lionized by Malcolm Gladwell, extolled by Harvard thought leaders, and even cited in a dissent by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the study showed that when orchestras auditioned musicians “blindly,” behind a screen, women’s success rates soared. Or did they?
... The research went uncriticized for nearly two decades. That changed recently, when a few scholars and data scientists went back and read the whole study. The first thing they noticed is that the raw tabulations showed women doing worse behind the screens. But perhaps, Ms. Goldin and Ms. Rouse explained, blind auditions “lowered the average quality of female auditionees.” To control for ability, they analyzed a small subset of candidates who took part in both blind and nonblind auditions in three of the eight orchestras.
The result was a tangle of ambiguous, contradictory trends. The screens seemed to help women in preliminary audition rounds but men in semifinal rounds. None of the findings were strong enough to draw broad conclusions one way or the other.

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