Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Survey of Economists is Released

Reviewed on CNN by Dilbert creator Scott Adams. Kudos to Adams for providing this public service. Not surprisingly, the econ profession leans to Obama in part because they see little difference on economic issues. I would prefer the sample have a larger share of academic, mostly because I am more distrustful of think-tank "economists" (see here and here). Compared to the rest of the nation, economists are less partisan but nonetheless I am still pretty disappointed in the partisan results of the survey.

It seems to me that the survey tended to ask "which is better - Obama or McCain?," where I would have liked a qualifier "would Obama/McCain's plans improve X?" I think in general both of their proposed plans stand to make the world a worse place to live, but one may be less-worse than another. We have no way of telling if the rest of the profession is the same on this.

Similarly, the list of "what issues are important" does not state why it is important. Raising and indexing minimum wage to inflation is likely going to be harmful to the lowest skilled workers, but that only applies to a small portion of the workforce. Those kind of caveats don't seem to come out in the survey.

At the time I write this, the server to the polling results themselves seem to be down, but if I get a look through it later I will write more on it again.

1 comment:

Lewis Metcalf said...

This confuses me, although perhaps I am letting my biases get the best of me. I am not a fan of McCain, but from my understanding of basic economics I have a hard time seeing how Obama could be better (higher taxes on the wealthy, limit free trade, etc). Do you have any idea why? I notice several of the issues weren't technically economics, but even the ones that are Obama tends to be prefered.