(This post is based on the Belz lecture I gave on October 14th. The slides are HERE. The most important part of this post is the last section. I would be very grateful to have some ideas on the questions I pose there.)
There are plenty of public intellectuals that are prominent in commenting on issues that directly inform public policy. The best known are probably Tim Flannery and Peter Singer. Another is Ross Garnaut who is routinely asked for comment on any issues that relate to climate change and resource rent taxes. Historians Henry Reynolds, Keith Windshuttle and Robert Manne are well-known for their internecine battles that have become milestones in the so-called history wars. Andrew Leigh (now the federal member for Fraser) and Joshue Gans are economist who write opinion pieces or appear on ABC radio on a weekly basis. There is not a single academic statistician or data analysts that contributes regularly to public debate. Why?
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