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Do Economists Believe American Democracy Is Working?


  • William L. Davis
  • Bob G. Figgins


Fresh results of a 2006 survey of members of the American Economic Association suggest that many economists do not seem to believe that American democracy is working—that is, advancing society’s welfare. Regardless of political party affiliation, a large majority of economists appear to be skeptical of elected officials and the political process. We discuss these findings in relation to what many, including ourselves, perceive to be a problem in the economics profession, namely, an undue focus on the policy status quo. If economists do not believe that the political process works well, why is there so much focus on the status quo, and, more specifically, so little challenge to status quo interventions?

Suggested Citation

  • William L. Davis & Bob G. Figgins, 2009. "Do Economists Believe American Democracy Is Working?," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 6(2), pages 195-202, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:6:y:2009:i:2:p:195-202

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. William A. McEachern, 2006. "AEA Ideology: Campaign Contributions of American Economic Association Members, Committee Members, Officers, Editors, Referees, Authors, and Acknowledgees," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 3(1), pages 148-179, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Whaples, 2009. "The Policy Views of American Economic Association Members: The Results of a New Survey," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 6(3), pages 337-348, September.

    More about this item


    Economic surveys; status quo orientation; American democracy;

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics
    • H8 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics


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