Economists can to some extent enlighten policymakers and the public and influence public policy. That enlightenment is achieved more by concrete policy work and application of basics than by fancy models and fancy statistical significance. There is a trade-off between relevance/importance and rigor/precision. Because many economists concentrate on rigor and precision, their influence in public affairs is not as good as it could be. The professional emphasis on scholastic crafts forsakes the Smithian character of political economy. A more Smithian character for the economics profession would lead to better government policy
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