Jonathan Gruber tops list of influential economists
MIT economist Jonathan Gruber testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, before the House Oversight Committee health care hearing. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, an influential player in the making of the Affordable Care Act, was named The Economist’s “most influential economist” of 2014.
The ranking, which will be included in the magazine’s Jan. 3 edition, measures economists’ influence by their publication count and the level of attention they received throughout the year up to Dec. 11.
And what a year it was for Gruber.
According to The Economist, “Comments made by Mr. Gruber on the sausage-making behind the health-care law became the centre of a political firestorm last autumn, propelling him up the list.”
“His elevation is a reminder that the news cycle is also an imperfect measure: in any other quarter, he would not have troubled the ranking.”
Gruber became a political lightning rod with his comments that the “stupidity of the American voter” and a lack of transparency were both important in securing the ACA’s passage. His comments earned him a grilling from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as the White House scrambled to downplay his role in the health care law.
Gruber earned a score of 7,632 on the list, with William Dudley, the head of the Federal Reserve bank of New York, trailing far behind with 2,077 points. Fed Chair Janet Yellen, as a serving central bank governor, was excluded from the list.