Tuesday, 19 May 2020

The tobacco economists network - or how the Tobacco Institute recruited over 100 American economics professors. Part 15 of many

Overview of previous posts here

Savarese gets audited

The network was led by consultant James M. Savarese and economist Robert D. Tollison.

In 1997 James Savarese wrote he was under a new financial arrangement with the Tobacco Institute. 

The new financial agreement Savarese mentioned arose as result of the Tobacco Institute’s dissatisfaction with the way Savarese wrote his invoices (and maybe other reasons). Savarese nearly always mentioned the economists' names, but even in his correspondence with the Tobacco Institute he withheld two names (no idea why). As proof we are dealing with professionals, the Tobacco Institute in 1987 audited its subcontractor, leading to new arrangements with James Savarese.

The document is interesting because it shows the industry did not search for the economists, this job was left to Savarese. But:

The audit did generate some unfriendly messages within the Tobacco Institute and whatever sparked the dismay, the industry decided it would evaluate the economists themselves. 

Hurst Marshall wrote a letter to all regional VP's asking to fill a questionnaire

The impetus for these unfriendly communications is unclear but a few months earlier Savarese had been ordered to re-contact all the economists he listed

As another result of the audit, the Tobacco Institute seems to have made its own evaluation of the economists
Tobacco employee Pete Sparber contacted 40 economists and 3 economists received less favorable reviews

Nevertheless, all three economists above stayed in the network for the next few years and still wrote op-eds (see another blogpost), but perhaps did not appear at any more hearings. The document does not mention why they wanted to replace Cecil Bohanon, but it shows the Tobacco Institute preferred James A. Papke who delivered very effective testimony in 1986

The same document finally solves the mystery why there were almost no women in the network 
Ann Harper-Fender
Thomas Borcherding also received a poor review 

Thomas Borcherding
Gary M. Anderson indeed would enter the network and he had already worked as assistant for Robert Tollison). Nevertheless. Borcherding does not seemed to have been kicked out but in the future would only be asked to write, not to deliver testimony.

The industry in the beginning did not like the newly recruited Gary M. Anderson even though he was a member of the core group. Interestingly in this memorandum Tollison/ Savarese are referred to as his "superiors"

Richard K. Vedder never was asked to testify. Lobbyist Bill Trisler explains
Richard K. Vedder

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