Astroturfing: Study Falsely Claims Economist Affiliations

“This is the first I have heard about it. It’s not a very good report.”

-Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel-winning economist



“A new study backed by pro-business groups takes a harsh stance on rules intended to bring transparency to the $600 billion derivatives market. The report, published on Monday, claims that proposed regulation could cost 130,000 jobs and could cut corporate spending by $6.7 billion.

The findings are clearly meant to scare politicians and drum up public support — just as financial regulators are set to testify on the issue before a Congressional committee on Tuesday. And at first blush, the study would seem to be good ammunition for the Chamber of Commerce and its other supporters.

The study was conducted by Keybridge Research, a seemingly independent economics and public policy consulting firm. The firm’s bona fides include an all-star roster of academics, including Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economic science; David Laibson, a professor of economics at Harvard, and Stephen P. Zeldes, a professor of economics and finance at Columbia’s Graduate School of Business.

But a closer look at the report raises some serious questions. For one, the findings seem oddly out of step with the views of some of the group’s luminaries, including Mr. Stiglitz, who is advertised on Keybridge’s site as an adviser . . . [But] it appears that Mr. Stiglitz and many of the firm’s advisers are not advisers at all.”

I’ll say what Sorkin cannot:  Those with a financial stake in maintaining the status quo about Derivatives are engaging in a phony lobbying campaign to protect their highly lucrative fiefdoms. This includes imitating judges in their astroturfed letter writing campaigns, and now claiming affiliations with well regarded economists and Nobel Laurelates where none exists.

Like the Astroturfing letters, these reports are bought and paid for by people whose sense of ethics, is, shall we say, “challenged.” There are so many billions of dollars at stake that ethics, even lawfulness, is routinely ignored.

What other illegal activities will these people engage in to protect their economy risking practices of highly leveraged derivative speculation and underwriting?


Who Was Astroturfing Forged Letters Against FinReg? (February 12th, 2011)

Vanishing Act: ‘Advisers’ Seek Distance From a Report
NYT, FEBRUARY 14, 2011

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