Inside an economics boot camp for US federal judges. : Planet Money : NPR


(Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

(Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

What happens when you take some of the most powerful people in America — federal judges — and you teach them economics?

In the 1970s, an academic named Henry Manne had a radical idea. He wanted to show judges the power, the clarity, the logic of economics. So he invited the judges on trips to fancy resorts — all expenses paid — where they would mingle and take lessons from famous economists like Milton Friedman and Paul Samuelson.

These two-week retreats became wildly popular. By 1990, some 40 percent of federal judges had gone— including two who ended up on the Supreme Court: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas. (Both of them, apparently, had a great time.)

Now, the evidence has come in. It seems that these economics retreats made a surprisingly strong impression on these judges. And American law may never be the same.

Music: “Nude Beach,” “Arizona Moon,” and “Arrivederci Mi Amore.”

Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / TikTok / YouTube

Get bonus episodes of Planet Money by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or and plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts and NPR One.

Want your own econ retreat, that you don’t attend but you can read, in your inbox every week? Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button
THE-NEWS-PAGE