Arnold Kling  

An Answer to Truman's Prayer?

Bryan Caplan on Income Inequal... Kahneman, Mental Effort, and t...

Claudia Goldin, William Nordhaus, Richard Schmalensee, and Anil Kashyap write,

Each week since late September, along with 37 other economists at top universities, we have been answering questions on major public policy issues...

Schamelensee was on my dissertation committe. President Truman reportedly prayed for God to send him a one-handed economist. This poll of experts is designed to illustrate that there really is a consensus among economists on some issues. The main page is here. Somebody should tell them about RSS.

On taxing high earners, the consensus is that this would raise revenue at the margin but not by enough to wipe out half the deficit.

I find the polls very interesting. For example, on the stock market, weak market efficiency has no dissenters, but strong market efficiency has no supporters.

It strikes me that some of the questions are posed in such a way as to foster agreement, where slightly different formulations would have exposed disagreement. For example, nobody asked, "Are we in a liquidity trap, so that there is no way to get back to full employment quickly without fiscal stimulus?"

Thanks to Tyler Cowen for the pointer.

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COMMENTS (4 to date)
david writes:

"Taxing high earners" link should go here:

tim writes:
Somebody should tell them about RSS.

Arnold Kling writes:

Tim, that feed gives me their blog, which includes a of stuff I don't want to read, in addition to the poll questions.

Bill Conerly writes:

One of the interesting things about the poll results is that (it seems to me) that the general opinion lies in the right direction, but with some uncertainty or hesitancy. The weighted responses, based on how confident the responders are about their answers, run toward the same direction as the unweighted answers, but more extremely so.

What these people are saying regarding issues they are not experts in is that their gut says this; then the experts in the question emphasize that the gut was right.

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