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Economic Enlightenment in Relation to College-going, Ideology, and Other Variables: A Zogby Survey of Americans

Author

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  • Zeljka Buturovic
  • Daniel B. Klein

Abstract

We present results of a December 2008 Zogby International nationwide survey of American adults, with 4,835 respondents. We gauge economic enlightenment based on responses to eight economic questions. A number of controversial interpretive issues attend our measure, including: (1) our designation of enlightened answers; (2) an asymmetry in sometimes challenging leftist mentalities without ever specifically challenging conservative and libertarian mentalities; (3) our simple eight-question test is merely a baseline and does not gauge the heights of economic enlightenment; and (4) a concern about response bias (namely, that less intelligent people would be less likely to participate in the survey). Even with the caveats in mind, however, the results are important. They indicate that, for people inclined to take such a survey, basic economic enlightenment is not correlated with going to college. We also show economic enlightenment by ideological groups, and we show that the finding about education holds up even when we look within each ideological group (with perhaps the exception of the “conservative” group). We discuss possible explanations for the finding that economic enlightenment is not correlated with going to college. We also report simple findings for the relation between economic enlightenment and each of the following variables: 2008 presidential vote, party affiliation, voting participation, race or ethnic group, urban vs. rural, religious affiliation, religious participation, union membership, marital status, membership in armed forces, NASCAR fandom, membership in the “investor class,” patronage at Wal-Mart, household income, and gender. Linked appendices provide all data and the survey instrument.

Suggested Citation

  • Zeljka Buturovic & Daniel B. Klein, 2010. "Economic Enlightenment in Relation to College-going, Ideology, and Other Variables: A Zogby Survey of Americans," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 7(2), pages 174-196, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:7:y:2010:i:2:p:174-196
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Author-Name: Alan S. Blinder & Alan B. Krueger, 2004. "What Does the Public Know about Economic Policy, and How Does It Know It?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(1), pages 327-397.
    2. Walstad, William B. & Rebeck, Ken, 2002. "Assessing the economic knowledge and economic opinions of adults," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 921-935.
    3. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel B. Klein & Zeljka Buturovic, 2011. "Economic Enlightenment Revisited: New Results Again Find Little Relationship Between Education and Economic Enlightenment but Vitiate Prior Evidence of the Left Being Worse," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 8(2), pages 157-173, May.
    2. Lusk, Jayson L., 2012. "The political ideology of food," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 530-542.
    3. Roderick Hill, 2010. "The Unenlightening "Economic Enlightenment in Relation to College-going, Ideology and Other Variables"," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 7(3), pages 337-340, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic enlightenment; college education; economic education; schooling;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A2 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics

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