Lisa Cook’s Academic Record Raises Red Flags

( – Activist and New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rufo spearheads the Manhattan Institute’s efforts to hold academic, government, and economic leaders accountable. The conservative think tank led the charge to force Claudine Gay to step down as Harvard University’s president in January by revealing instances of her use of plagiarism and other questionable practices. His research recently revealed information about Lisa Cook’s academic record that raises some red flags.

On April 10, the Daily Wire cross-posted an in-depth exposé penned by Rufo and Luke Rosiak detailing allegations of academic misconduct perpetrated by Cook, a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

The Manhattan Institute researchers reported that a cursory review of Cook’s credentials looks good. She holds a Ph.D. in economics, served on the American Economic Association’s executive committee, taught international relations and economics at Harvard University and Michigan State University, and served on former President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors.

However, a deeper probe reveals serious and questionable flaws. For instance, Cook’s publication record is “remarkably thin for a tenured professor.” The two researchers also noted that it “largely [focused] on race activism” instead of “rigorous, quantitative economics” as one might expect from one of the world’s most powerful economists.

The report detailed the controversy surrounding Cook’s “most heralded” academic report, a 2014 paper detailing economic activity and violence surrounding African-American patents obtained from 1870 to 1940. Cook concluded that the number of patents granted to black inventors suddenly dropped in 1900 due to widespread discrimination and lynchings.

Alarmingly, other researchers quickly debunked Cook’s claim. As it turned out, one of the databases she relied on for her study stopped collecting information in 1900, skewing the reported number of patents. A subsequent study showed that the actual number of patents obtained by blacks could be as high as 70 times greater than the figure presented by Cook.

Rufo and Rosiak also documented an egregious example of plagiarism by Cook and misrepresentations of her publication background on her CV. In one instance, she listed the “American Economic Review” as the publisher of one of her articles. A quick check revealed, rather, that the non-peer-reviewed “American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings” published that piece.

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