We explore recent arguments that economists may not serve to enlighten their publics so much as foster surplus confusion and doubt concerning controversies in their areas of expertise, particularly with regard to the recent worldwide economic crisis. After describing agnotology, the new area of the history of science that studies such phenomena, we recount two instances of these activities: the role of market designers in the framing and justification of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and the manufacture of the now-widespread impression that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were a primary cause of the crisis.

You do not currently have access to this content.