Plagiarism Scandal Hits The Fed

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Apr 10, 2024 - 04:45 PM

Another week, another plagiarism scandal in the ivory towers.

This time, journalists Chris Rufo and the Daily Wire's Luke Rosiak found that Federal Reserve governor Lisa Cook appears to have plagiarized her academic work in violation of her former university's policy.

Lisa Cook, governor of the US Federal Reserve. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Cook, who taught economics at Harvard and Michigan State before serving on the Obama administration's Council of Economic Advisers, went on to be appointed to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in 2022. At the time, her academic record was so thin - and focused on race activism vs. 'rigorous, quantitative econ,' that she had trouble getting confirmed by the Senate (her nomination required VP Kamala Harris to cast a tie-breaking vote).

According to Rufo, "in a series of academic papers spanning more than a decade, Cook appears to have copied language from other scholars without proper quotation and duplicated her own work and that of coauthors in multiple academic journals, without proper attribution." (Click into the below thread on X for more examples).

According to Michigan State's own policy on plagiarism, Cook is a plagiarist. In the past, administrators have warned students that "plagiarism is considered fraud and has potentially harsh consequences including loss of job, loss of reputation, and the assignation of reduced or failing grade in a course."

Cook duplicates long passages verbatim without quotation or proper attribution, changing minor words and punctuation.

What's more, Cook's rigor has also come under fire and she misrepresented her own credentials. As Rufo and Rosiak write in City Journal and the Daily Wire:

Her most heralded work, 2014’s “Violence and Economic Activity: Evidence from African American Patents, 1870 to 1940,” examined the number of patents by black inventors in the past, concluding that the number plummeted in 1900 because of lynchings and discrimination. Other researchers soon discovered that the reason for the sudden drop in 1900 was that one of the databases Cook relied on stopped collecting data in that year. The true number of black patents, one subsequent study found, might be as much as 70 times greater than Cook’s figure, effectively debunking the study’s premise. 

Cook also seems to have consistently inflated her own credentials. In 2022, investigative journalist Christopher Brunet pointed out that, despite billing herself as a macroeconomist, Cook had never published a peer-reviewed macroeconomics article and had misrepresented her publication history in her CV, claiming that she had published an article in the journal American Economic Review. In truth, the article was published in American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, a less prestigious, non-peer-reviewed magazine.

When asked for comment, Cook told the journalists: "I certainly am proud of my academic background."

As Rufo and Rosiak note in closing (emphasis ours):

Cook is no stranger to mobilizing such punishments against others. In 2020, she participated in the attempted defenestration of esteemed University of Chicago economist Harald Uhlig for the crime of publicly opposing the “defund the police” movement. She called for Uhlig’s removal from the classroom, claiming that he had made an insensitive remark about Martin Luther King, Jr. (The university closed its own inquiry after concluding that there was “not a basis” to investigate further.) Uhlig, in a 2022 op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, asked the pertinent question: Under the leadership of an ideologue such as Lisa Cook, would the Fed continue to pursue its mandate, or succumb to left-wing activism?

Time will tell if the gears of justice turn against Lisa Cook, or if repeated academic misconduct, defended by some as mere sloppiness or isolated mistakes, is fast becoming an acceptable part of the academic order—as long as the alleged author of that behavior is favored by the powerful.