Petra Moser (Alesina Seminar)


Thursday, March 24, 2022, 4:30pm to 5:45pm


CGIS Knafel, room K354

Today's Speaker

Petra Moser (NYU Stern), "McCarthy and the Red-ucators: Does Political Persecution Change Science" (with Sahar Parsa)


This paper examines the effects of political persecution during McCarthyism on American science. Between 1949 and 1953 the National Council of American Education (NCAE) published lists of "Red-ucators"—professors and other scientists who were publicly accused of associations with subversive, communist organizations. Event studies of publications and citations show that targeted scholars experienced a large and persistent decline in their research output. After the accusations, targeted scholars were 10% less likely to publish, and they published 25% fewer papers compared with other scholars in the same fields and at similar institutions. Scientists who were accused of multiple subversive affiliations suffered most. Notably, citations to existing work by targeted scholars declined only temporarily during the height of the movement and recovered as McCarthyism lost its force.

Co-sponsored by FAS and IQSS, the Program on Political Economy (PE) supports research-related activities that integrate the study of economics and politics, whether by studying economic behavior in the political process or political behavior in the marketplace. In general, positive political economy is concerned with showing how observed differences among institutions affect political and economic outcomes in various social, economic, and political systems and how the institutions themselves change and develop in response to individual and collective beliefs, preferences, and strategies.

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See the seminar's full schedule at the Program on Political Economy page.

All interested faculty and students are invited to attend.