Economists have long worried about regulatory “capture,” the process whereby regulators become cozy with the businesses they regulate. This is one reason for caution about the value of regulation.
According to economist Luigi Zingales (Chicago),
The very same forces that induce economists to conclude that regulators are captured should lead us to conclude that the economic profession is captured as well. As evidence of this capture, I show that papers whose conclusions are pro-management are more likely to be published in economic journals and more likely to be cited. I also show that business schools faculty write papers that are more pro management. I highlight possible remedies to reduce the extent of this capture: from a reform of the publication process, to an enhanced data disclosure, from a stronger theoretical foundation to a mechanism of peer pressure. Ultimately, the most important remedy, however, is awareness, an awareness most economists still do not have.
In other words, “Economist: heal thyself!”