Saturday, 27 June 2020

Corrupted tobacco economists network, Part 36: even more pro-tobacco books

Overview of previous posts here

Charging beneficiaries for public services (1989)

Probably the authors liked the money they made writing books and in 1988, Tollison and Wagner proposed writing a book Public Services: User Charges and Earmarked Taxes in Principle and Practice (notice Wagner uses the letterhead of GMU)

Tobacco Institute employee Martin Gleason wrote (May 31, 1989)

In June, Gleason added

And, in an undated memo

This time Richard Wagner was the lead author, perhaps to give Tollison a bit lower profile as he already led two other tobacco books. Other authors included Gary M Anderson, Bruce Yandle, Dwight R. Lee, Henri Lepage, Mwangi S. Kimenyi, James M. Buchanan and Fred S. McChesney.

The two non-network members are "Nobel Prize" winner James M. Buchanan (his name pops up everywhere in the LTDL, and he was involved in the 1984 workshop leading to the network) and French libertarian economist Henri Lepage (member of several of the same think tanks as the other economists, and a current member of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)).

Even though Wagner was the first author, Tollison charged the Tobacco Institute

The fourth invoice also charged $36,250, so probably the industry paid $145,000, exactly the amount the authors proposed

Buchanan must have earned more because he held a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, explaining his high market value: how many politicians would dare to say a Nobel Prize winning economist was wrong on economy ?

It is clear the book was promoted the same way as Smoking and the State

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Corrupted tobacco economists network, Part 35: buying fake book reviews from the other network members

Overview of previous posts here

Buying positive book reviews

Media tours were not the only way Smoking and the State: Social costs, rent seeking, and public policy was promoted, the industry also wanted favorable book reviews. So once again the network economists began writing. James Savarese wrote

The economists did what they were asked


Of course, the economists' work first was checked for the right wording. The phrase "Most would sanction the government warning tobacco users of the health consequences of their habit" in Cecil Bohanon's review did not please the industry, so they added a word

Cecil Bohanon

A similar edit was made in the draft written by Ryan C. Amacher. Notice the similarity in handwriting. These edits were made by the Tobacco Institute. The edits appeared in Amacher's final version, published in The State, Columbia, S .C., Sunday, August 14, 1988

Ryan C. Amacher

Adding a word sometimes was not enough

Allen M. Parkman

The same document also shows the Tobacco Institute's lawyers had to review the paper before it could be sent to the newspapers. Not all reviews were published though

November 29, 1998, James Savarese sent the following invoice to the Tobacco Institute
Seventeen economists were asked to write a review. Assuming everyone writing a review got paid, every economist earned around $3.500 for writing a review. Calculated otherwise, the industry paid some $2.000 per page written.

TI president Samuel D. Chilcote reported to the members of the TI executive committee

Friday, 19 June 2020

Corrupted tobacco economists network, Part 34: promo-tours all over the USA

Overview of previous posts here

Promo-tours all over the USA

The Ogilvy and Mather promotion plan from previous blogpost effectively was executed and Robert D. Tollison and Richard E. Wagner started making media trips to promote Smoking and the State: Social costs, rent seeking, and public policy, just as the strategy dictated.

In 1992, the industry planned a new media tour to promote the book The Economics of Smoking. The document looks back on the 1988/1989 media tour

Assuming the economists earned at least $3,000 per tour stop (see appendix, to be published at the end of the blogseries), the authors must have earned well over $100,000 (on top of the $20,000 for writing the book).

PR-firm Ogilvy and Mather helped Tollison, giving him advice on how to communicate with the press
As always, the industry was evaluating the economists
The media tour results pleased the industry as the authors spoke with lots of media

In 1995, Tollison and Wagner participated in another media tour, though it is not clear from the LTDL which book they presented. The Economics of Smoking dates from 1992, so there may be a missing publication.  It is not clear also why Tollison and Wagner received more media training from PR-firm Fleishman-Hillard in 1991

The LTDL has some examples of the interviews, showing Tollison’s one sided argumentation

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Corrupted tobacco economists network, Part 33: Robert D. Tollison writes more tobacco books

Overview of previous posts here

Robert D. Tollison writes pro-tobaccco books, part III

Smoking and the state (1988)

The executive summary for this book was written by the Public Relations firm Ogilvy and Mather, but the Tobacco Institute did not like their work and rewrote the piece

The book had a clear purpose

Promoting smoking and the state

PR-firm Ogilvy and Mather designed the campaign to promote Tollison's and Wagner's book Smoking and the State: Social costs, rent seeking, and public policy

Tollison and Wagner agreed on the program presented by Ogilvy and Mather

The tobacco industry always tried to hide that it was lobbying with the aid of 'independent' academics. The scientists in the ‘Social Cost’ category usually were strictly separated from the ‘truth squads’ and the witnesses in these programs never appeared at the same place at the same time. This way, the industry wanted to create the illusion that different categories of scientists in non-related fields opposed the government's tobacco-regulations.

Reality was different: both the ‘tax’ and ‘truth squad’ academics took part in media tours set up by the industry. Ogilvy and Mather organized both tours, in one controlled operation and often mentioned both media-tours in one and the same memorandum, e.g. the memorandum written February 15, 1989

Similar notes were written on (small selection): February 1, 1989, on April 11, 1989, on August 17, 1989, etc.

There's one exception to this rule of separating thruth squad and the economists: when the American Medical Association held a meeting and the industry only became aware of this conference one month in advance. Probably because of a time constraint Tollison and David Weeks were touring at the same place and time.

Just as with legislative testimony, the Tobacco Institute did follow up how the scientists coped with their lobbying:

Sunday, 14 June 2020

The corrupted tobacco economists network Part 32 - Robert D. Tollison writes pro-tobaccco books (bis)

Overview of previous posts here

Robert D. Tollison writes pro-tobaccco books, part II

Clearing the air (1988)

Clearing the Air: Perspectives on Environmental Tobacco Smoke was presented as a book written by concerned scientists. It is the odd one out, as it was ordered by Philip Morris for their own unstated purposes, not the Tobacco Institute.

Andrew Whist, Senior Vice-president of Philip Morris, wrote this letter on January 7, 1988 to Robert Tollison

Of course Tollison was not an employee, he was an outside consultant. Technically, this makes a difference but at this point Tollison had already received a great deal of money from the Tobacco Institute.

Philip Morris supported the book by handing out some money (same letter)

Even though the book acknowledges it was supported by the industry, when interviewed on television Tollison and Wagner did not exactly mention their connections with the industry.

Video Tollison being interviewed: Video Wagner being interviewed:

Saturday, 13 June 2020

How the Tobacco Institute recruited over 100 American economics professors. Part 31 - Robert D. Tollison writes pro-tobacco books

Overview of previous posts here

Robert Tollison writes several books

The Tobacco Institute did not just want the economists to produce op-eds, the industry wanted the attack on excise taxes to have some, even only superficial, 'real' academic credibility. One of the early tactics of the tobacco industry was to publish the book "Smoking and Society", but this was not the only book Robert D. Tollison wrote/edited on the topic:
  • 1986 Robert D. Tollison (ed), Smoking and society: toward a more balanced assessment, Lexington Books, Lexington, Massachussetts
  • 1988 Robert D. Tollison (ed), Clearing the air: perspectives on environmental tobacco smoke, Lexington Books, Lexington, Massachussetts
  • 1988 Robert D. Tollison, Richard E. Wagner, Smoking and the state: social costs, rent seeking, and public policy, Lexington Books, Lexington, Massachussetts
  • 1989 Richard E. Wagner and Robert Tollison, Charging Beneficiaries for Public Services: User Charges and Earmarked Taxes in Principle and Practice
  • 1991 Robert D. Tollison, Richard E. Wagner; The Economics of Smoking, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht

Smoking and society (1986)

This passage in the 1983 Presentation on social costs/social values to INFOTAB board of directors meeting October 31, is interesting as it provides an overview of the research done by the industry in the period 1979-1984



The documents leaves no doubt Tollison's 1985 book "Smoking and Society: Toward a More Balanced Assessment" was ordered by the tobacco industry. The preface of the book acknowledges this, though not completely:

Tobacco industry sociological programs to influence public beliefs about smoking

While at least they did not hide the involvement of the industry, the book was not a spontaneous result of a 1984 workshop, but arose from a decision made by the Tobacco Institute no later than 1983. Moreover it did not name the funding organizations. The reason the industry needed scholars is clear: media-credibility

Even though written by academics, the industry dictated the topics the book had to cover, and who had to be the editor

The Tobacco Institute paid $70.000 for the book, meaning INFOTAB must have paid another $70.000. A document from 1989, three years after publication, illustrates the industry was pleased with the output:

Samuel D. Chilcote Jr.

It seems the tobacco industry was happy paying $140,000 to publish a book printed in only 1500 copies. The target was not public readers, but the creation of material the field lobbyists could use.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Corrupted 120+ member tobacco professors network, part 20: Robert D. Tollison writes a letter

Overview of previous posts here

Tollison writes a letter

The GSA letters all show a strong libertarian bias, and a very one sided, sometimes bizarre, view on the world. But it sometimes got even weirder, as a 1992 letter by Tollison shows
Robert D. Tollison
The letter was written on the letterhead of George Mason University and Tollison was paid by the Tobacco Institute to wirte this letter.

Tollison must have written more letters in 1993, earning him $4.000

Monday, 8 June 2020

Corrupted 120+ member tobacco professors network, part 29: embarrassing GSA-letters

Overview of previous posts here

Content of the GSA-letters

John F. Militello

John F. Militello sent his letter July 7, 1986. He wrote
John F. militello

That's not exactly the truth: February 25, 1986 James Savarese sent this letter to the Tobacco Institute during the ongoing Chase op-ed campaign
Jack Militello, James M. Savarese

Millitello's GSA letter was part of an organized campaign. James Savarese wrote a handy overview of theactivities each network economist was involved with until 1986 Militello's activities were listed as follows:
John F. Militello

Clearly, the GSA letter was not an effort of private citizen.

Arthur C. Mead

Arthur C. Mead's letter is somewhat bizarre

Arthur C. Mead

This is embarrassing 

J.J. Boddewyn

J.J. Boddewyn' text is what one would expect to read from a free market professor: freedom, freedom, freedom

J.J. Boddewyn

Boddewyn's last paragraph on enforcement is one-sided: if there would be something like a right to smoke at the work floor, this would imply the need of new regulation to enforce this right. . .

Morgan Reynolds

In 1979 the US Surgeon General concluded ETS is harmful. Reynolds still denied this:

Like all the network economists, Reynolds used one sided arguments like

Reynolds (and all the other economists) ignored facts like buildings will have to be painted less, there will be less economic loss from smoking related illnesses etc. Telling a one sided tale is not typical of economists, the standard description of whom is that there is no such thing as a one handed economist, because they always say on the one hand and on the other.

Reynolds again:
Morgan Reynolds

Following Reynolds logic, employers would not have a problem to pay that extra amount of money as they now could decrease the salary of non-smokers. After all, their workings conditions improved, meaning -following his logic- after a ban they suddenly are being overpaid...

Cecil Bohanon

Cecil Bohanon et al. use a weird analogy

Cecil Bohanon

Five people signed this crap. 

Allen Dalton

Allen Dalton clearly has a full understanding of the word 'addiction', as his letter proves

D. Allen Dalton

(do read his entire letter, it is bewildering)     Denying health Risks

Morgan Reynolds was not the only one of the economists to deny the health risks of ETS. S. Charles Maurice et al wrote:
Morgan Reynolds

Sunday, 7 June 2020

The corrupted 120+ member tobacco economists network - part 28. Writing "independent" letters to senators.

Overview of previous posts here

Letters to Senators 

The economists were paid if they sent their op-eds to their local congressmen and Senators.

Several of these are not economists, but professors of law. As we will see in another blogpost, the industry also tried setting up a lawyers network. 

The economists and lawyers did not exactly say they were paid by the Tobacco Institute, As an example, Ronald X. Groeber wrote
Ronald X. Groeber

As another example, the letter written by Gary M. Anderson (he sent a copy to the Tobacco Institute and on top wrote sorry for the delay, so the Tobacco Institute probably had asked him to forward it)
Gary M. Anderson

The full list of letters discovered can be found in the appendix which will be published with the last blogpost in the series