So there has been discussion on incentive problems in economics here before (here, here, and here). However, now there seems to be a little bit of hard empirical evidence indicating that there is a problem.
It seems that 51% of graduate students at the top 15 US universities think that knowledge of the actual economy was “unimportant” for doing a degree in economics. These weren’t people saying “a little important” or “I’m not sure”, these are just the ones saying “it does not matter at all”.
Now, if the best graduate students do not believe that the actual economy matters for economics that suggests to me that there is a major incentive problem – the same sort of one that Rauparaha tried to convince me about so long ago