Sunday, 24 May 2020

The tobacco economists network - or how the Tobacco Institute recruited over 100 American economics professors. Part 20 of many

Overview of previous posts here

Buying the academics names 

Dennis Chinn

Not recruited by the Tollison/Savarese network, Dennis Chinn is the odd man out. Nevertheless his example is interesting. It seems the Tobacco Institute never was able to recruit an economist in every state. The documents show sometimes a network economist was ‘transferred’ to another state to fill in a temporary hole in the network. This was done because the industry always focused its lobby-activities on those states actively working on excise taxes. States with little activity were low priority for the lobbyists.

March 14, 1985, (when the network still was incomplete) Regional Philip Morris Director Alexander King wrote a text on the Tobacco Institute's need of an economic analysis to oppose a Senate Bill in Washington State

The bill sent to the Tobacco Institute shows in just 59 hours (including gathering all data) the Applied Economic Associates were able to write a full impact excise-tax analysis for the entire state of Washington. Seems rather implausable. 

Dennis Chinn seemed to enjoy the work for the tobacco industry, and wrote a first letter and a second one soliciting more consultancy work. For a while, Chinn would become a tobacco economist 

Dennis Chinn not being honest

A couple of months after he sent his letter, (January 13 1986) Chinn had become a member of the Tobacco Institute's Washington Task Force

Yet three days later (January 16), a press release by the Tobacco Institute's PR-firm Public Affairs Associates stated Chinn was 
Dennis Chinn

The press release does not mention that Chinn was a TI-consultant, proven by the memo from 3 days earlier

As he accepted money from the industry, Chinn most certainly was not an independent economist. 

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