The Texas School Board wants to add Hayek to the high school economics curriculum. This seems to have caused something of a fuss. Justin Wolfers has argued at the Freakonomics site that Hayek is unworthy. This on the basis of a citation search through JSTOR.
But searching for “Friedrich von Hayek” only yielded 398 articles; adding “((“Friedrich von Hayek”) OR (“Friedrich Hayek”))” raised his total to 1242 mentions; also allowing “FH Hayek” raised his count to 1561.
Oh dear. Friedrich Hayek’s middle initial was A. not H. Okay. Mistakes happen. Jacob Levy then tries to replicate the Wolfers exercise. Afterall this isn’t climate science – replicability is an important aspect of what economists do.
Next step, to get a ceiling estimate:
full-text search on Hayek . 12088 results. Browsing through these yields very few false positives– so now I’m suspicious.
I notice a lot of references to “Professor Hayek.” This seems to have been the convention in some academic journals at midcentury. “Professor Hayek” by itself yields 582 hits, and a quick browse yielded no false positives.
I also notice that the search engine cares about the difference between “F.A. Hayek” and “F. A. Hayek” (with a space between the first period and the A). This makes a big difference. Simply performing the search as “‘F.A. Hayek’ OR ‘F. A. Hayek'” already yields 2219 results– more than Wolfers’ most complete version of his search.
Adding in F. A. von Hayek and Friedrich Hayek as options gets us to 3342.
Proceeding from the other direction: a search just on Hayek restricted to business, economics, finance, law, linguistics, philosophy, political science, psychology, public policy, and sociology eliminated all the false positives I could find. 9385 .
That is a tad more than Wolfers found. Bill Easterly puts in a few words too.
Young Wolfers may not know the history of censorship of Hayek in the other direction. When I was in graduate school in The Middle Ages, Hayek was seen as so Far Right that you would be considered a nut to read him.
It’s sad that Hayek has been the victim of so many violations of the intellectual freedom for which he was one of the most eloquent and courageous spokesmen ever.
I think Easterly is being too kind to ‘young Wolfers’ – who should have wondered why Hayek won the economics Nobel prize.
Speaking of the Nobel Prize, David Skarbek has done an analysis of citations in Nobel Prize lectures and finds that Hayek is the second most cited author.
I think the Wolfers argument relating to Hayek being unworthy is wrong – but I also think Hayek shouldn’t be taught in high school. His arguments are probably too subtle for high school kids.
(HT: Cafe Hayek, Coordination Problem and Marginal Revolution)