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Noah Smith

Calling All Sociologists: America Needs You

Economists don't have answers to some of the nation's most urgent problems.
Maybe this will get their attention.

Maybe this will get their attention.

Source: Lambert/Getty Images

There are many more economists in the public sphere than sociologists. The president has a Council of Economic Advisers, but no Council of Sociological Advisers. Every presidential candidate has an economic team, but you never hear about a sociology team. There are government-run institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve banks staffed with Ph.D. economists, but no such brain-trusts of sociologists.

In the media, economists such as Paul Krugman, my Bloomberg View colleague Tyler Cowen and others command large audiences and great intellectual respect. Nor are they unusual -- many economists blog, or write for important news outlets. As for sociologists, though a few do interact with the public -- for example, Tressie McMillan Cottom of Virginia Commonwealth University or Fabio Rojas of Indiana University-Bloomington -- most remain in the ivory tower.