Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Survey Questions I Would Like to Ask

If I could put together my own survey of the public, here are some questions I would ask:
  1. Suppose a new medical treatment is developed that nearly eliminates your body's ability to feel pain. Would you take it?
  2. What is your educational attainment? In hindsight, was the level and type of education you obtained worth its cost?
  3. What is the month and day of your birth (e.g. January 1)?
  4. If you were sky diving and the parachute did not open, what do you think your personal chances are that you will survive the fall?
  5. Do you believe life was better in the past than it is today? If yes, what year was life at its best? If you could be presented with the option of being born in that time period, would you take it?
I ask #1 because many of my non-economist colleagues argue that since people want protection from market forces, government should grant it to them. My rebuttal is that pain in the market place is similar to physiological pain, it prevents us from doing stupid things that would otherwise feel good. Laying out in the sun feels good, but the ability to feel pain encourages us to avoid getting sun burned. #3 I would ask only if I knew the true answer ahead of time. Once upon a time I saw a paper that did exactly this, and a surprisingly large percentage (over 10% I think) gave the wrong answer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

40%of white people have a negative opinion on black people. The other 60% are lying about it.