Michael Pakko is an economist who is active in the Libertarian Party and who has circulated reports claiming that smokefree workplace laws adversely affect business. He is employed by the Federal Reserve of St. Louis. As a result, his research is frequently misinterpreted as being sponsored by, or representative of the Federal Reserve, when in fact it is not. Nonetheless, his claims find their way into mainstream media in this context.
A December 22, 2007 article in the Columbia Missourian attempted to clarify the relationship between Pakko and his employer. The article stated:
Cletus Coughlin, deputy director of research at the Federal Reserve, clarified the bank’s position regarding its economists’ reports.
“We hold strongly that these aren’t official positions of the bank,” Coughlin said. “However, he (Pakko) is an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank, and we don’t want to hide from that.”
Coughlin said he prefers not to see “Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis says...” in media stories about its researchers’ work because of the way things can be “stereotyped.”
“We cringe when we see that,” he said.
The Federal Reserve’s attempt to separate itself from individual findings can be found in every report it publishes. At the beginning or end of each publication, a disclaimer reads “The views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis or the Federal Reserve System.”
- Americans for Nonsmokers Rights Fact Sheet on Michael Pakko
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
P.O. Box 442
St. Louis, MO 63166-0442
Phone: (314) 444-8564
Fax: (314) 444-8731
Email: pakkoATstls.frb.org (Substitute an @ sign for the word "AT")
- Philip Prouhet Smoking ban research questioned Columbia Missourian. December 22, 2007