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Economic Experts versus Average Americans


  • Paola Sapienza
  • Luigi Zingales


We compare answers to policy questions by economic experts and a representative sample of the US population. We find a 35 percentage point difference between the two groups. This gap is only partially explained by differences in ideological or personal characteristics of the two samples. Interestingly, the difference is the largest on the questions where economists agree the most and where there is the largest amount of literature. Informing people of the expert opinions does not seem to have much of an impact. Ordinary people seem to be skeptical of the implicit assumptions embedded into the economists' answers.

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2013. "Economic Experts versus Average Americans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 636-642, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:636-42
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.636

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roger Gordon & Gordon B. Dahl, 2013. "Views among Economists: Professional Consensus or Point-Counterpoint?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 629-635, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design


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