EconoFact, an online publication launched just over a year ago by faculty at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, is continuing to work toward its mission of reintroducing facts and economic analysis into public discourse on social and economic policy.
EconoFact provides data and analysis of current policy issues through short memos written in accessible language, according to the EconoFact website.
Michael Klein, the William L. Clayton professor of international economic affairs at The Fletcher School and co-executive director of EconoFact, said he noticed a lack of sound economic policy ideas from either side during the 2016 presidential election campaign and wondered what he could do to remedy it. Klein was the chief economist in the Office of International Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 2010 to 2011.
“When I was [working at the U.S. Treasury], mostly what I did was write these short memos … about policy that would go to the Under Secretary for International Affairs and to the Secretary and sometimes to the President,” Klein said. “I was writing for people who did not have a degree in economics, but were interested in policy.”
Klein said his work at the Treasury inspired the idea for EconoFact, and he decided to reach out to friends of his who were economists to help him with the project.
“What I wanted was for professors who had spent their entire careers studying important economic policy issues to have a way to present to the public, to journalists, to politicians and their staff, what we have learned from economic analysis and what we know from statistics,” Klein said.
Klein approached the Director of The Edward R. Murrow Center for a Digital World at The Fletcher School and Edward R. Murrow Visiting Professor of Public Diplomacy Edward Schumacher-Matos about the concerns he and fellow economists had.
“Their great fear was that economic and social policy was going awry, and they wanted to know what they could do about it, how could they influence the public debate. So I said I had an idea, and that idea was EconoFact,” Schumacher-Matos said.
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