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(Why) Are Economists Different?

  • Gebhard Kirchgässner

After presenting some casual evidence about the difference between economists and the rest of the population, first the survey and experimental evidence which has been presented on this topic during the last 20 years is discussed. But can these results really be transferred to real world situations? To show this, examples of referenda results in Switzerland are presented where the citizens decided against recommendations of most economists. But what is so particular in economic theory that causes these different convictions? Some explanations are given with respect to positive economic theory and with respect to the normative convictions of economists. The paper concludes with possible consequences which economists might draw.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1396.

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Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1396
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  1. Kearl, J R, et al, 1979. "A Confusion of Economists?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 28-37, May.
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  27. Bryan Caplan, 2002. "Systematically Biased Beliefs About Economics: Robust Evidence of Judgemental Anomalies from the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 433-458, April.
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