IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jlawec/v44y2001i2p395-426.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

What Makes People Think Like Economists? Evidence on Economic Cognition from the "Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy."

Author

Listed:
  • Caplan, Bryan

Abstract

The positive economic beliefs of economists and the general public systematically differ. What factors make noneconomists think more like economists? Using the "Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy," this paper shows people think more like economists (1) if they are well educated, (2) if they are male, (3) if their real income rose over the last 5 years, (4) if they expect their real income to rise over the next 5 years, or (5) if they have a high degree of job security. However, neither high income nor ideological conservatism have this effect. My findings for education, gender, and income have close parallels in political science: on tests of objective political knowledge, the better educated and males score higher, controlling for numerous other variables, and the independent effect of income is minor. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Caplan, Bryan, 2001. "What Makes People Think Like Economists? Evidence on Economic Cognition from the "Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy."," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 395-426, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:44:y:2001:i:2:p:395-426
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/322812
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Victor R. Fuchs & Alan B. Krueger & James M. Poterba, 1998. "Economists' Views about Parameters, Values, and Policies: Survey Results in Labor and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1387-1425, September.
    2. Robert J. Blendon, 1997. "Bridging the Gap between the Public's and Economists' Views of the Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 105-118, Summer.
    3. Alston, Richard M & Kearl, J R & Vaughan, Michael B, 1992. "Is There a Consensus among Economists in the 1990's?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 203-209, May.
    4. Shiller, Robert J & Boycko, Maxim & Korobov, Vladimir, 1991. "Popular Attitudes toward Free Markets: The Soviet Union and the United States Compared," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 385-400, June.
    5. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
    6. Fuchs, Victor R, 1996. "Economics, Values, and Health Care Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 1-24, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Michael Roos, 2007. "Nonexpert beliefs about the macroeconomic consequences of economic and noneconomic events," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 291-304, September.
    2. Bryan Caplan, 2004. "George Tsebelis, Veto Players: How Political Institutions Work," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 121(1), pages 260-262, October.
    3. Bryan Caplan & Edward Stringham, 2005. "Mises, bastiat, public opinion, and public choice," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 79-105.
    4. Berg, Nathan & Biele, Guido & Gigerenzer, Gerd, 2010. "Does consistency predict accuracy of beliefs?: Economists surveyed about PSA," MPRA Paper 26590, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. John V.C. Nye & Sergiy Polyachenko, 2013. "Does education or underlying human capital explain liberal economic attitudes?," HSE Working papers WP BRP 40/EC/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    6. SALMON, Pierre, 2002. "Science économique et sens commun : trois thèses sur leurs relations réciproques," LEG - Document de travail - Economie 2003-02, LEG, Laboratoire d'Economie et de Gestion, CNRS, Université de Bourgogne, revised Jan 2003.
    7. Bryan Caplan, 2006. "How do voters form positive economic beliefs? Evidence from the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 367-381, September.
    8. Svensson, Mikael, 2006. "The Value of a Statistical Life in Sweden Estimates from Two Studies using the "Certainty Approach" Calibration," Working Papers 2006:6, Örebro University, School of Business, revised 12 May 2009.
    9. Caplan, Bryan, 2003. "The idea trap: the political economy of growth divergence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 183-203, June.
    10. Amélie Goossens & Pierre-Guillaume Méon, 2015. "The Belief that Market Transactions Are Mutually Beneficial: A Comparison of the Views of Students in Economics and Other Disciplines," Post-Print CEB 2013/162215, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    11. Triossi, Matteo, 2013. "Costly information acquisition. Is it better to toss a coin?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 169-191.
    12. 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.
    13. Eric Crampton & Matt Burgess & Brad Taylor, 2011. "The Cost of Cost Studies," Working Papers in Economics 11/29, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    14. Klein, Daniel B. & Stern, Charlotta, 2005. "Narrow-Tent Democrats and Fringe Others: The Policy Views of Social Science Professors," Working Paper Series 8/2005, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    15. Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde & David Leiser & Rinat Benita, 2010. "Human Foibles or Systemic Failure -- Lay Perceptions of the 2008-09 Financial Crisis," Post-Print ijn_00445611, HAL.
    16. Kuehnhanss, Colin R. & Heyndels, Bruno & Hilken, Katharina, 2015. "Choice in politics: Equivalency framing in economic policy decisions and the influence of expertise," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 360-374.
    17. Wobker, Inga & Lehmann-Waffenschmidt, Marco & Kenning, Peter & Gigerenzer, Gerd, 2012. "What do people know about the economy? A test of minimal economic knowledge in Germany," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 03/12, Technische Universität Dresden, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
    18. Dixon, R. & Griffiths, W. & Lim, G.C., 2014. "Lay people’s models of the economy: A study based on surveys of consumer sentiments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 13-20.
    19. Emily Chamlee-Wright & Virgil Storr, 2010. "Expectations of government’s response to disaster," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(1), pages 253-274, July.
    20. Haferkamp, Alexandra & Fetchenhauer, Detlef & Belschak, Frank & Enste, Dominik, 2009. "Efficiency versus fairness: The evaluation of labor market policies by economists and laypeople," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 527-539, August.
    21. Bryan Caplan & Stephen Miller, 2012. "Positive versus normative economics: what’s the connection? Evidence from the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy and the General Social Survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 241-261, January.
    22. Anthony Evans, 2010. "Austrian economics behind the iron curtain: The rebirth of an intellectual tradition," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 23(3), pages 243-268, September.
    23. Belfield, Clive R. & Levin, Henry M., 2004. "Should high school economics courses be compulsory?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 351-360, August.
    24. Williamson, Claudia R., 2012. "Dignity and development," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 763-771.
    25. Stern, Charlotta & Klein, Daniel B., 2006. "Is There a Free-Market Economist in the House? The Policy Views of American Economic Association Members," Working Paper Series 6/2006, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:44:y:2001:i:2:p:395-426. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division). General contact details of provider: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.