This post’s title from an album the Irish program at my local jazz station has been promoting.

Some years back when I watched Saturday Night Live regularly, and everyone complained about how much better it was when Chris Farley/Mike Myers/Eddie Murphy/Bill Murray was on the show, one of the writers appeared on Weekend Update (no, not Tina Fey) to point out an anomaly. He was the only Jew on the comedy team, which he explained was like an NBA team with just one black dude. The list of other names sounded more like a St. Patrick’s day arrest lineup.

Listening to the Greg Cochran interview I recently linked, the point he made about the Irish getting mixed up with everyone else on earth set some gears in motion that hadn’t clicked before. Brad Delong & Paul Krugman have been complaining about the decline of the Chicago School recently, and even Chicago-educated quasi-monetarist Scott Sumner agrees. The modern Chicago school is represented by the likes of John Cochrane, Kevin Murphy and Casey Mulligan (at least they aren’t Ed Prescott, whose surname is more Anglo) together with the odd Huizingas and Zingales. Hmm. The old Chicago school (alright, not the Old Chicago school of Knight & Viner) was represented by the likes of George Stigler, Milton Friedman, Gary Becker and Julian Simon. Brian Doherty noted how so many of the founders of the modern libertarian movement were Jewish in Radicals for Capitalism, and Half Sigma just made the same point recently. I brought up a similar point at his blog in defense of Austrian economics when he tried to associate it with anti-semitism, and he replied that the people I listed were either dead or very old.

Is there any point to my rambling? SNL, as well as the Chicago and Austrian schools have all seen better days, and in those days seemed more Jewish than they are now. Might we theorize that the ethnic composition of an intellectual enterprise shifting from Jewish to Irish is akin to rats leaving a sinking ship?

For those wondering about Armenians, Armen Alchian of the Chicagoite colony at UCLA is matched today by Lee Ohanian (damn, just an apostrophe away from Irish!). While Alchian worked with Harold Demsetz, Ohanian writes with Harold Cole, another Anglo surname. Daron Acemoglu was born in Turkey but is ethnically Armenian and teaches at the Salt Pole university MIT. Economists in America are increasingly foreign, which may make my hypothesis less and less relevant as time goes on. Among those extra-ethnic economists is Narayana Kocherlakota, who might suggest that I have no idea what I’m talking about.

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