by Dr. Roy Cordato
Senior Economist, Emeritas
The News and Observer’s “Under the Dome” reports on an article in the North Carolina Insider (a subscription only service), which discusses an announcement made by Rep. Susi Hamilton that “a study scheduled for release next month will provide a detailed accounting of the economic benefits of the film industry in North Carolina.” As an aside, if it says nothing about the costs then it will not be particularly useful as a guide to state lawmakers.
“Under the Dome” then goes on to quote the Insider article:
The study, being done by N.C. State University economist Rob Handfield, comes as state incentives for the film industry are scheduled to expire next year and as critics and supporters gear up for legislative fight over their expiration.
Except, assuming the quote is accurate, the Insider gets it wrong, Handfield isn’t an economist. He holds no degrees in economics, doesn’t teach in the economics department and neither his website at NCSU nor his vita makes any claims about him having credentials in the field.
Instead his Ph.D. is in operations management and his bachelors is in math and statistics. He is in fact a well respected and extensively published expert in the study of supply chain management. You’d think that for a subscription price of well over $1100 a year the Insider would get this right.
Continuing to quote the “Insider” Under the Dome states,
The study was undertaken after officials in the administration of Gov. Pat McCrory and industry officials and lobbyists began discussing a means of accessing the cost and benefits of the film incentive program.
The question then arises, why not hire an actual economist with proven expertise in cost/benefit analysis to do the study? NC State, UNC, and Duke all have highly credentialed, top notch faculty in their Ph.D. granting economics departments, surely an actual economist could have been found. Just sayin’.