Tuesday, 28 April 2020

The tobacco economists network - or how the Tobacco Institute recruited over 100 American economics professors. Part 2 of many

1. Over one hundred economists, led by core group
The economist network was set up by Robert D. Tollison of GeorgeMason University with the help of lobbyist/consultant James M. Savarese. Over time some 120 economists were active in the network although not all of them participated equally, nor did they all receive the same amount of funding for their lobbying.

The industry constantly evaluated the economists (see further). A core group was created in 1988 and it helped further refining the lobbying strategy:

A social cost committee of seven economists headed  y Jim Savarese and Bob Tollison is being formed. Others in the economist network may play a role researching and writing on this issue. However, this core group will create strategies and structure for a social cost program. The group will have its first meeting to begin implementing a strategy on February 1-2 in Washington.

This committee will be modeled after the economist network and will operate in a similar manner. The group will convene at least three times a year. A series of targeted brochures to various key audiences on the issue could be prepared for:- state legislators and staff
- federal legislators and staff
- academics
- media
-      Robert D. Tollison, Ph.D. Director, Public Choice Center George Mason University 
-      Richard E. Wagner, Ph.D. Holbert Harris University Distinguished Professor George Mason University 
-      Dwight Lee, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Economics University of Georgia
-      Richard Higgins, Ph.D. Economist Washington Economic Research Consultants (Former Deputy Director, Bureau of Economics, Federal Trade Commission)
-     Robert Ekelund Jr., Ph.D. Lowder Professor of Economics Auburn University
-     Michael L. Davies
-     Gary Anderson, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Economics, California State University at Northridge
-      Bob Ebel, Ph.D. Director, Public Finance Program The Urban Institute

With the exception of Ebel, this core group would be responsible for running the network. In another 1988 document, James Savarese lists the core group, this time without Ebel, who does not reappear in the files, so he must have dropped out early.  

This core group worked closely with the Tobacco Institute including participating in strategic meetings and more.  Realistically, the other 100+ professors may be regarded as subcontractors of Savarese &Tollison. Nevertheless all network members also had direct contacts with the Tobacco Institute over time.

Core Group
The tobacco industry wanted to recruit at least one economist per American state (we'll explain why). During the existence of the network, over 100 American economics professors were involved. The industry called those shown below the ‘core group’. They all worked closely with the Tobacco Institute

We'll explore the activities of the economist during the next year or so, but it is clear the industry had a clear vision how to you use the economists:

In the next number of posts, we will see the industry did not just hire the economists, but always evaluated them for effectiveness

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