Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics
The Tactics of Secondhandism
Volume 3, No. 3 (Fall 2000)
In this Journal of Spring 2000, Robert Tollison joins David Laband in reiterating a stretched conception of market test. Laband and Tollison recommend grading academic performance by the sorts of statistics that Laband compiles, which involve article and page counts, impressions of journal quality and citations. Let me be clear about what I am not saying. I never questioned the need for standards, nor the uphill battle that unpopular ideas necessarily and even appropriately face, nor the necessity of secondhandism of some kinds and degrees and for some purposes. I am not sweepingly condemning the literature of academic economics. Economists continue making solid contributions despite everything. I regret the perversion of standards through glorification of secondhandism. When appraisals are necessary, they should be kept as close to practicable to persons who have the most direct knowledge and who bear responsibility for their judgments.