Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

This Is Spinal TAPPED II

An astute reader writes to note that while TAPPED seems rather confused over the definition of "economist," many dictionaries are in substantial agreement - and not one of them mentions any requirement for a PhD in economics or, for that matter, any subject:

Cambridge International Dictionary of English: "An economist is a person who studies or has a special knowledge of economics. "

Merriam Webster Dictionary: "a specialist in economics"

Wordsmyth: "a person who has expertise in the study of economics."

American Heritage Dictionary: A specialist in economics

Now, I suppose we might try going farther back for the traditional definition:

Webster's 1828 Dictionary: "One who manages domestic or other concerns with frugality; one who expends money, time or labor judiciously, and without waste."

And then there's this suggestion from Money Words: "Person who studies the economy professionally"

Astute reader further comments:

Ah, so you need to get paid... Actually, I would venture that that defines a "professional economist," a term which would otherwise be redundant. So the basic challenge... is there anyplace anywhere other than TAPPED anywhere on the Web which argues that only PhD's can be economists? I can't find it.

One more note: I have been qualified as an expert economist numerous times in court, but other than a little good-natured ribbing, nobody asks me too much about my lack of a PhD. When one of my colleagues was on the stand, he was asked:

Q: Mr. G___... it is MR G____ isn't it? I mean you don't have a PhD, do you?

A: No I don't.

Q: Shouldn't that matter in the jury's evaluation of your testimony?

A: Only if my mother were on the jury.

So here's the new contest:


Operators are standing by to take your calls!!!

And then there's this from Mindles Dreck.

UPDATE: Following the lead of another astute reader, we add to the list of brilliant economists and Nobel Prize winners sans doctorates Ronald Coase, who holds a "mere" bachelor degree from the London School of Economics.

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