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The Policy Views of American Economic Association Members: The Results of a New Survey


  • Robert Whaples


This article presents the results of a 2007 policy-views survey of a random sample of members of the American Economic Association. The new survey contains questions about many policy issues not treated by previous surveys. The questions treat such issues as trade restrictions, social insurance for those put out of work by international competition, genetically modified foods, curbside recycling, health insurance (several questions), medical malpractice, barriers to entering the medical profession, organ donations, unhealthy foods, mortgage deductions, taxing internet sales, Wal-Mart, casinos, ethanol subsidies, and inflation targeting. Additional questions treat the relationship between economic growth, happiness, and well-being, whether the typical American consumes too much, works too much, saves too little, and lives in houses that are too large. It finds disagreement on many issues but evidence of considerable agreement on others, including a consensus that the benefits of Wal-Mart stores typically outweigh their costs, that Americans save too little and that economic growth in developed countries increases well being. It finds a consensus in favor of eliminating trade barriers, eliminating or cutting ethanol subsidies, allowing payments to organ donors, and against requiring employers to provide health insurance. The article opens with reflections about why we care whether economists reach a conclusion, and methods for determining whether a consensus has been reached.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:6:y:2009:i:3:p:337-348

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Douglas M. Walker, 2008. "Do Casinos Really Cause Crime?," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 5(1), pages 4-20, January.
    2. Daniel B. Klein & Stewart Dompe, 2007. "Reasons for Supporting the Minimum Wage: Asking Signatories of the "Raise the Minimum Wage" Statement," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 4(1), pages 125-167, January.
    3. 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.
    4. Whaples Robert, 2006. "Do Economists Agree on Anything? Yes!," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 3(9), pages 1-6, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dan Šťastný, 2011. "Checking the Czechs: Consensus and Dissention Among Czech Economists," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2011(4), pages 366-380.
    2. O’Neill, Donal, 2015. "Divided opinion on the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013: Random or systematic differences?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 175-178.
    3. Perez Truglia, Ricardo Nicolas & Bottan, Nicolas Luis, 2008. "Deconstructing the Hedonic Treadmill: Is Happiness Autoregressive?," MPRA Paper 20340, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Bottan, Nicolas Luis & Perez Truglia, Ricardo, 2011. "Deconstructing the hedonic treadmill: Is happiness autoregressive?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 224-236, May.
    5. Hillebrand Evan E & Lewer Joshua J. & Zagardo Janice Turtora, 2011. "Backtracking from Globalization," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 10(4), pages 1-19, January.
    6. Timothy C. Haab & John C. Whitehead, 2013. "What do Environmental and Resource Economists Think? Results from a Survey of AERE Members," Working Papers 13-19, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University, revised 2015.
    7. Croucher, Matthew, 2012. "Energy efficiency: Is re-distribution worth the gains?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 304-307.

    More about this item


    consensus among economists; surveys of economics; public policy; trade; health care industry; ethanol; Wal-Mart; casinos; inflation; savings rate;

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health


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