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(Why) Are Economists Different?

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  • Gebhard Kirchgässner

Abstract

After presenting some casual evidence about the difference between economists and the rest of the population, first the survey and experimental evidence which has been presented on this topic during the last 20 years is discussed. But can these results really be transferred to real world situations? To show this, examples of referenda results in Switzerland are presented where the citizens decided against recommendations of most economists. But what is so particular in economic theory that causes these different convictions? Some explanations are given with respect to positive economic theory and with respect to the normative convictions of economists. The paper concludes with possible consequences which economists might draw. Nachdem an Fallbeispielen Unterschiede in den Auffassungen von Ökonomen einerseits und dem Rest der Bevölkerung andererseits aufgezeigt wurde, wird zunächst die empirische Evidenz zu diesem Faktum aus Umfragen und Experimenten zusammengefasst. Wie weit sind diese Ergebnisse auf Situationen realen Handelns übertragbar? Um dies zu zeigen, wird auf Ergebnisse von Referenden verwiesen, in welchen sich die Bürger entgegen den Empfehlungen fast aller Ökonomen entschieden haben. Dann wird gezeigt, welche Eigenheiten der (positiven) ökonomischen Theorie wie der normativen Überzeugungen der (meisten) Ökonomen zu diesen Unterschieden führen. Die Arbeit schliesst mit Hinweisen zu Konsequenzen, zu denen sich Ökonomen in dieser Situation veranlasst sehen könnten.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen in its series University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2004 with number 2004-18.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2004
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Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2004:2004-18

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Keywords: Cooperative Behaviour; Indoctrination; Self-Selection; Referenda Results; Economic Model of Behaviour; Commitment; Fairness of the Market;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Enrico Giovannini, 2007. "Statistics and Politics in a "Knowledge Society"," OECD Statistics Working Papers 2007/2, OECD Publishing.
  2. Amélie Goossens & Pierre-Guillaume Méon, 2010. "The impact of studying economics, and other disciplines, on the belief that voluntary exchange makes everyone better off," Working Papers CEB, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles 10-012.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Zaman, Asad, 2008. "Islamic Economics: A Survey of the Literature," MPRA Paper 11024, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Hillman, Arye L., 2010. "Expressive behavior in economics and politics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 403-418, December.
  5. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2011. "Econometric Estimates of Deterrence of the Death Penalty: Facts or Ideology?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3443, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Jacob, Robert & Christandl, Fabian & Fetchenhauer, Detlef, 2011. "Economic experts or laypeople? How teachers and journalists judge trade and immigration policies," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 662-671.
  7. Kirchgässner, Gebhard, 2011. "Kaderschmieden der Wirtschaft und/oder Universitäten? Der Auftrag der Wirtschaftsuniversitäten und -fakultäten im 21. Jahrhundert," Economics Working Paper Series 1107, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  8. Nelson, Douglas, 2006. "The political economy of antidumping: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 554-590, September.
  9. Roland Cheo, 2006. "Teaching Contingent Valuation and Promoting Civic Mindedness in the Process," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 5(2), pages 81-97.
  10. Ruske, René & Suttner, Johannes, 2012. "Wie (un-)fair sind Ökonomen? Neue empirische Evidenz zur Marktbewertung und Rationalität," CIW Discussion Papers 03/2012, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).

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