Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mankiw wins!

Given the intense interest in last week's poll, I decided to devote a post to summarizing it. Recall that the question was:

Who would win in a American Gladiator-style jousting match?
N. Gregory Mankiw OR Paul R. Krugman

The results are in, and it is Mankiw in a landslide. Mankiw tallied 576 votes; Krugman tallied 143 votes.

Not only did people vote with their clicks, but they also voted with their comments. An astounding 101 comments were made. Some were witty and others were mean, but I was surprised at how much insight there was.

Tallying the votes in the comments, the vote came down to:
Mankiw: 61 votes
Krugman: 15 votes
The readers/no one/ "this is childish"/ partisan hacks/ no vote: 25 votes

An incredible fact. Out of the people who actually voiced their opinions in the comments, 80.3 percent (61/76) voted for Mankiw. Out of the people who voted silently on the sidebar, 80.1 percent (576/719) voted for Mankiw. I would have expected those numbers to be different from one another on account of adverse selection.

Because the comments were so fun, I decided to give out some unofficial awards.

Best Reason to Support Krugman: "... because he is sporting the Chuck Norris beard."
Best Reason to Support Mankiw: "Cambridge is rough, man. Mankiw'd whoop anyone from Princeton. That place is like Disneyland."
Strangest Reason to Support Krugman: "He's been fighting the good fight for a while now."
Strangest Reason to Support Mankiw: "All logic lies on his shoulders."

Keep in mind that the poll was about who would win in a joust. In that context, having a Chuck Norris beard could be more useful than having logic on your shoulders.

Weirdest Comment: "Krugman is the real-world fighter in public policy. Mankiw merely preaches economics mantras from his Ivory tower, blissfully ignoring non-economic trade-offs that are unfortunately all to [sic] relevant."

This comment is weird because tradeoffs are inherently economic. They represent a reaction to the fundamental scarcity in our world. I think Mankiw gets this, even if it does not relate to money.

Best Comment:
"Best Insult Style
Krugman recently has been the king of the forehand, delivering beauties like "deliberate obtuseness" and the aforementioned "either remarkable ignorant or simply disingenuous." Mankiw definitely prefers the backhand with "[Krugman] seems to think that in the score points simply by insulting your intellectual adversaries. Sadly, I am afraid he may be right." (Oh, snap!)

Advantage: Mankiw

Best Alternative Source of Income
Mankiw has a beast of a textbook series that raids students pockets to the tune of $210.95 per pop (and like a good market-driven economist, he isn't afraid to pimp it at every turn). Krugman has a friend named Mr. Nobel.

Advantage: Krugman

Best Blog Design
Krugman's is just the NYTimes. Mankiw's is crap.

Advantage: None (step it up, gentlemen)

Best Intellectual Feature in Blog Picture
Mankiw opts for the subtle but still effective "glasses and tweed coat" combo, clearly defining himself as intellectual but also in a friendly "come to my office hours from 4-5pm" professorial way. Krugman rocks the dork beard.

Advantage: Krugman

Most Economical Blog Title
"The Conscience of a Liberal" versus "Greg Mankiw's Blog."

Advantage: Mankiw

Most Mysterious First Name
"N." versus "Paul"

Advantage: N.

Overall: I have to say the winner of a KrugMankiw fight would definitely be... their readers!"

I couldn't agree more.

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