Fraser Institute

Dead folks (and women) do no peer reviews

With my head still spinning from research on other projects, I thought for relaxation I would take shots at an absurdly easy target: the independent, research organization called the Fraser Institute.

The Sixth Estate was a blog that explored how money shapes public debate “in ways that are seldom acknowledged,” enabling “certain voices to be amplified, while others are comparatively stifled.”

Of course, the voices of Canada’s wealthiest business owners are regularly amplified by the Fraser Institute, which spends about $1-million a month on “research” from its esteemed, and materialistic, panel of approved scholars.

Earlier this year, The Sixth Estate examined a Fraser Institute School Report Card. The organization boasts that its reports are peer reviewed rigorously but observers have questioned the quality, even the sincerity, of the process:

As usual, five of the reviewers of this report are actually dead, some others are in their 90s, and one of them is also the author, a conflict of interest if ever there was one.

This gem found its way into sneering reviews of the think-tank that other bloggers love to write. That may be because, unlike the academic researchers, none of us are recipients of Fraser Institute largesse.

The institute’s people are not all braindead though and someone decided to amend the webpage identifying their Editorial Advisory Board, moving dead folks to a separate section. The remaining 21 people have an average age of 70 so further amendments to the list may become necessary sooner than later.

Here is the group with a bit of biographic information. You may note that although the Fraser Institute styles itself “Canada’s leading public policy think tank,” only half the Editorial Advisory Board resides in Canada.

  • Professor Armen Alchian — Age 97 — ex-UCLA laissez-faire economist whose most noted works were published four and five decades ago.
  • Professor Terry L. Anderson — Age 65 — former Montana State economist, G.W. Bush adviser on public lands, senior fellow of the right-wing Hoover Institution, believes in privatization of public lands. He is the director of PERC (the Political Economy Research Center) which publishes papers sharply critical of popular U.S. environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
  • Professor Robert Barro — Age 67 — neo-classical economist at Harvard, senior fellow of the right-wing Hoover Institution.
  • Professor Michael Bliss — Age 70 — retired University of Toronto professor, author and social commentator, advocate of privatizing Canadian healthcare.
  • Professor James M. Buchanan — Age 92 — Tennessee born economist of the “Chicago School”, senior fellow of libertarian Cato Foundation, retired professor of Virginia’s George Mason University.
  • Professor Jean-Pierre Centi — Age 66 — professor of economics at the University of Aix-en-Provence in France and a member of the so-called “Nouveaux Economistes” group.
  • Professor John Chant — Age 72 — an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University. He has written on financial institutions and their regulation.
  • Professor Bev Dahlby — Age 60 — a professor and fellow at the Institute for Public Economics at the University of Alberta. He has published extensively on tax policy.
  • Professor Erwin Diewert — Age 70 — UBC microeconomic theorist specialized in productivity measurement.
  • Professor Stephen Easton — Age 62 — SFU economist, editor of Privatizing Prisons by the Fraser Institute, promoter of privatization of education, frequent contributor to publications of the Fraser Institute.
  • Professor J.C. Herbert Emery — Age 44 — University of Calgary Professor, Departments of Economics and Community Health Science. Current research supported by the Donner Canadian Foundation.
  • Professor Jack L. Granatstein — Age 72 — Canadian historian specialized in military matters. Supported Canadian military participation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Professor Herbert G. Grubel — Age 78 — former Reform Party politician, opposed to progressive taxation systems, former SFU economist, supports integration of Canadian and American currencies, fellow of the Fraser Institute.
  • Professor James Gwartney — Age 71 — Florida State economist, Co-author of Economic Freedom of the World Annual Report jointly published by the Cato Institute and Fraser Institute.
  • Professor Ronald W. Jones — Age 81 — University of Rochester economist, promoter of economic globalization.
  • Dr. Jerry Jordan — Age 76 — Retired President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, a member of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors in 1981-82, member of the Mont Pelerin society founded by Friedrich von Hayek, which sees “danger in the expansion of government, not least in state welfare, in the power of trade unions…”
  • Professor Ross McKitrick — Age 46 — Professor of Economics at the University of Guelph, He is also a Senior Fellow of the Fraser Institute in Vancouver B.C., a member of Lord Nigel Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation, an organization organized for climate change denial.
  • Professor Michael Parkin — Age 72 — Professor Emeritus in economics, University of Western Ontario.
  • Professor Friedrich Schneider — Age 63 — Austrian economist at Johannes Kepler University of Linz, former President of The European Center for the Study of Public Choice.
  • Professor Lawrence B. Smith — Age 67 — Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto Economics, specialized in macroeconomics, real estate, land and housing economics.
  • Mr. Vito Tanzi — Age 74 — Born in Italy, lives in Maryland. Served almost three decades with the International Monetary Fund and has written about its frequent failures.

Categories: Fraser Institute

9 replies »

  1. Here are some gems that university professors have told the “Eye” over the years. Their names remain anonymous, simply because they were/are so forgettable.

    “No one builds with LRT anymore.” Quoted in the mid 90's; over 78 new LRT lines built since.

    “LRT can't use Arbutus Corridor because it is narrow gauge”; while forgetting to mention that the BCE conveyed standard gauge CPR boxcars along this route, to the Steveston canaries from day one of operation.

    “European LRT cars can't operate in BC because they have different electrics.”; ignores the fact that the LRT vehicle used on the short lived Olympic Line was originally destined for Brussels, Belgium and is now in operation their.

    “LRT is toys for boys, as buses are better for public transit”; yet proven over and over that buses do not attract new transit customers, especially the motorist from the car. The Ottawa BRT lost 15% ridership in its first 10 years of operation.

    And so on.

    Being an university professor means very little these days and it seams that the Fraser Institute agrees, as it prefers its university professors that do peer reviews, be dead!


  2. In the case of the Fraser Stinktatute “experts” the brains of the dead members often work as well or better than those of the semi-living. Isn't that retired genius politician Ralphie Klein an esteemed member of the Fraser StinkTank now? Of course for a retired politician from Alberta it is always good to find an excuse to leave the equivalent of an exhausted gravel pit that the home of Spiteful Stevie Harper is rapidly becoming!

    I am embarrassed to currently reside in Canada and be represented by governments at all other than my village level that are on the wrong side of history…………..especially the Ottawa TalibanCons and BC LIEberals!


  3. Oops! damn spell-check!

    This gives me a chance for another swipe at the Fraser Institute!

    It is not (I repeat not) a think-tank, rather it is a right wing propaganda machine. There is an illusion in this country and the USA that government is bad. Government is not bad, but a lack of public oversight has made it bad.

    What the Fraser Institute promotes is the selfless acquisition of wealth and power by the ruling elites, paid for by the poverty of the many. Canada and the USA are promoting a new class system, where the powerful minority elites have uncontrolled power over the great unwashed. Unless the lesser members of society soon rise up and demand that they be included in the new society, they will be doomed to decades of corrupt government, corrupt courts, corrupt politicians, and a corrupt way of life.

    Who is NOT AFRAID to bell the cat.


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