Bryan Caplan  

Take This Ideological Turing Test

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COMMENTS (97 to date)
Echarles writes:

0 out of 5 for both. Wow, since I thought I aced it.

The Original CC writes:

"You identified yourself as slightly conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 0 out of 5 questions."

Really? I think I used to hold every single "economically liberal" position there ever was. I'm quite familiar with arguments on both sides, so I'm highly doubtful of this result.

Either I'm *way* overconfident in my ideological Turing Test skills, or choosing among one-sentence summaries (many of which are very similar) just does not assess what you think it does. (Or there's a bug in the code. *Zero* out of 5?)

Colin writes:

Zero out of 5.

I wouldn't mind knowing what the self identified liberals are answering.

Dangerman writes:

Whoa, this is a VERY interesting test... because it compares your answers to the answers *given within the test* by people of the opposite ideology.

So I'm a conservative, and very deliberately picked answers for liberals that I thought were most generous: e.g. that they really believe that restricting free trade helps workers.

But since I got 0 out 5, apparently the liberals taking this test are giving the lowbrow answers like "rich people are bad!"

Very interesting.

Jon Murphy writes:

@Dangerman-

That's the experience I had too. This is very interesting. I can't wait to see the paper when it is finished with all the data compiled!

Mars writes:

The exact same thing happened to me. Very strange test.

Market Fiscalist writes:

Has anyone got a result other than 0/5 ? I tried it as both a liberal and a conservative and got 0/5 both time despite giving what I thought were the most representative answers on both occasions.

Chris writes:

Ok I just took it twice and got 0 out of 5 both times with different answers. Have any liberals actually taken this?

Zack writes:

Another zero out of five here. I'd really be curious to know how self described liberals actually answered these questions.

Wesley writes:

0 out of 5 here as well, for the same reasons as Dangerman. Very interested in what comes out of this.

Nick P writes:

I'd like to join the 0 out of 5 club. I was sure I was being generous and smart about my answers to the liberal ones. Very interesting.

The Original CC writes:

I wonder if this is what is happening: People are picking the strongest (or most sophisticated) arguments for their opponents. In real life, the people taking this test are not nearly that informed about economic debates.

I always assumed that to pass the ITT, your argument for the other side just had to be at least as good as your opponents'. Apparently, it has to be the same but not better!

Robert writes:

Add me to the list of double goose egg recipients. I hope we get to see a break down of the answers at some point.

Grant Gould writes:

Another 0/5. I'm an unsympathetic person, but not _that_ unsympathetic; I suspect that the scoring system is broken, or that some clever ideologue has spiked the liberal end with nasty answers.

RPLong writes:

Add another zero to the pile-on. I was going to make that my criticism of the test, but since everyone else has already noted it, I'll add a different criticism:

The "free trade" or "laissez-faire" positions are all indicated as "conservative." But aren't these really the liberal positions on economics? Why does the quiz use opposite language to describe liberal trade policies?

Dangerman writes:

I should add... my explanation above is the narrative most complimentary to myself and my ability to be ideologically magnanimous.

The explanation that I'm totally close minded and know nothing about how other people think is, I suppose, equally plausible at this point.

Gene writes:

Also 0 out of 5.

Sam writes:

Another 0/5 for liberal, 1/5 for my self-identified "slightly conservative".

I suspect a bug in the code.

KenB writes:

The methodology is flawed, IMHO -- the survey never asks for our own views, but just what "liberals" or "conservatives" as a whole think. Even someone who identifies as liberal or conservative is being asked to judge based on their sense of the overall category rather than their personal views.

Also, it has the usual flaws for a multiple-choice survey -- I would guess that most liberals, e.g., would have both fairness-related and outcome-related justifications for many of their positions, so picking a single one would be oversimplifying.

Echarles writes:

The test of defective.

I took it three times answering all A', B's and C's and all were 0 or 5.

Graham Evans writes:

0 of 5, 1 of 5, identified as moderate. I tried to be generous to both sides as in Australia at least most politicians seem to hold their views sincerely, and beleive themselves on the side of right.

Jesse C writes:
You identified yourself as very conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 0 out of 5 questions. Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good as or better than 7 percent of others who are very conservative.
Conservatives are from Mars, Liberals are from Venus?

This is SO mindboggling. I'm going to ask a few people I know from both sides of the spectrum, and who also aren't particularly interested in economics to take the test too. My hunch is that the more interest you have in econ, the more you choose the "thoughtful" answers. I suspect there's a vast majority on either side that chooses the crude answers - in both directions.

Hardcore liberal ethos: "conservatives hate blacks and poor. High minimum wage sticks it to the man!" Hardcore conservative ethos: "liberals want to burn rich people at the stake. High minimum wage is bad because f--- poor people!"

Maybe those are more representative?

Brandon Berg writes:

This test had multiple correct answers on both sides. For example, on the "conservative" side, I found myself agreeing with two or more answers on every question. On the "liberal" side, each question had multiple answers that describe views I have actually seen from self-identified "liberals."

There were a couple of obvious strawman answers, but most simply reflect different views held to varying degrees by different people.

Brandon Berg writes:

ECharles: Or maybe it's intentional. Maybe the creator is watching the comments here to see how people react to being told that they failed an ideological Turing test.

Brad writes:

0/5 I did it as very conservative economically.

I tried to be really generous, but I thought there were several reasonable answers that liberals and conservatives could give.

I think the idea is a good one, but I think the implementation is likely off.

Dave writes:

Heh, has anyone *not* gotten 0 out of 5?

I made a conscious effort to select what I saw as the best argument in favor of each sides' policies. Although now that I think more about this strategy, I'm wondering if that is exactly the "wrong" tact to take for a Turing test. Most conservative/liberal folks I know do not frame their arguments the way I chose them.

In other words, I chose what I saw as the most flattering formulation for each side. However, how each side speaks depends very much on the audience. Am I to try to sound like a party propagandist, a policy wonk, a scholar, ...

Is the goal here to give typical views or to give answers that ideological readers are likely to give knowing they are taking a Turing test? I'm not convinced the responses would be the same in each case.

SeanV writes:

Another big fat 0 here also - I smell something going on here - lefties are gaming the system and not saying what they really think, hhmmm.

Dan writes:

Whew. Rather glad to see I have company in the zero-for-five club. As someone who is not a modern liberal, nonetheless as did several other posters I attempted to give the benefit of the doubt as to the anticipated responses by liberals -- avoiding the superficial responses, opting for what I would've considered more substantial replies from those with whom I would disagree. Yes, it would be an education to learn how self-described liberals answered.

Silas Barta writes:

Concur with The_Original_CC and Dave: I picked the intelligent arguments for liberal policies, the ones that can be most strongly defended without appeals to emotion. If it turns out that the typical liberal is holding these beliefs based on the fluffy reasons, that lowers my estimation of the reasonable opposition.

I thought Ideological Turing Tests were supposed to use the most intelligent, well-informed advocates to compare with their caricatures?

(I'm guessing there's a bug in the code.)

Fazal Majid writes:

Also 0 out of 5, self-identified as moderately conservative.

3/4 ^ 4 = 31% chance for getting them all wrong. Something fishy is going on here.

Anon. writes:

0/5 here too...are we all really this bad at understanding our opponents or is there perhaps some software error?

Dangerman writes:

"Maybe the creator is watching the comments here to see how people react to being told that they failed an ideological Turing test."

Only sensible explanation I can see.

ss writes:

I think something is bugged. Either way, here are my answers.

Conservatives oppose raising the minimum wage because they believe it would:

force employers to pay employees more than their contribution to the firm or not hire them at all.

Liberals favor raising the minimum wage because they believe it would

increase the income of low-wage workers with a minimal loss of employment

Conservatives oppose high taxation of incomes because they believe such taxes would :

reduce economic growth.

Liberals favor high taxation of incomes because they believe that such taxes would:

permit socially desirable expenditures, paid for by those who disproportionately gain from the system.

Conservatives oppose the use of economic stimulus programs because they believe:

stimulus programs are ineffective at improving output and employment.

Liberals favor the use of economic stimulus programs because they believe:

stimulus programs are effective at improving output and employment.

Conservatives favor generally freer trade because they believe:

freer trade has benefits greater than costs for society.

Liberals oppose generally freer trade because they believe:

freer trade hurts workers while helping corporations.

Conservatives oppose accumulating a large national debt because:

they worry about the debt ultimately causing a financial collapse.

Liberals do not oppose accumulating a large national debt because:


they believe fears of financial collapse are overblown.

Silas Barta writes:

@Brandon_Berg:

maybe it's intentional. Maybe the creator is watching the comments here to see how people react to being told that they failed an ideological Turing test.

Perhaps, but generally speaking, never attribute to deviousness that which can be explained by coding errors ;-)

Jeff writes:

Picking what I thought was the most sophisticated argument for each one:

You identified yourself as very conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 3 out of 5 questions.

Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good as or better than 48 percent of others who are very conservative.


Jesse C writes:

After some soul searching (and coming up empty) I decided to retake the test with all different answers - chosen mainly at random between the remaining 3 answers. Exact same result as before. The test is either broken or just something to spark conversations like this in economics blogs. My agreement to take the test was based on my guess that I'd get to learn the results of the data. Since there's no easy way to be notified when the results are made available, this is very disappointing.

Hasdrubal writes:

0/5 here, also trying to give the most reasonable answers (i.e. answers that I could best justify using my knowledge of economics.)

I'm wondering if either there aren't enough people answering yet for it to decide what the "liberal" or "conservative" dominant answers are, or if someone(s) are intentionally giving weird answers to screw up its calibration. Or, it could be a sociological experiment to see how people react to finding out they're less capable of passing an ideological Turing test than they think they are. >.>

In the first two cases, redoing to test with different answers just to see if you can improve your match will potentially make it worse. (If, for example, they're not filtering responses by IP address and ignoring those addresses when people retake the test.)

I think I'm going to post this on my facebook feed, and then post my own answers in the comment section to manually compare instead of just relying on their posted results and comparing from there.

HD Jobby writes:

You identified yourself as slightly conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 4 out of 5 questions.

Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good as or better than 88 percent of others who are Slightly conservative.

Brandon Robison writes:

FYI: 0 out of 5 is not the only result.

"You identified yourself as slightly conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 4 out of 5 questions.

Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good as or better than 89 percent of others who are slightly conservative."

Jesse C writes:

@HD Jobby: please enlighten us!

M writes:

Slightly conservative, 4/5. I hang out with socialists.

Daniel Fountain writes:

For anyone wondering the correct answers (5/5 , 5/5) are:

D, A, C, C, A, A, A, A, A, B

I had to refresh the main page about 5 times before the score actually began to work.

ss writes:

Seems like it's fixed. I retook it with all my original answers (as written above) and got 4/5 (L), 3/5 (C). Self identified as a "Moderate"

MikeP writes:

Worked for me:

You identified yourself as very conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 4 out of 5 questions.

Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good as or better than 82 percent of others who are very conservative.

I42 writes:

"You identified yourself as very conservative.
2 out of 5 questions.
Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good as or better than 20 percent of others who are very conservative."

Not an American though :)

Robert writes:

I also retook the test. Self identified as a moderate and scored 5/5 (L) and 3/5 (C). Overall 8/10, would have expected an even split instead of 5-3. Interesting.

Garrett M writes:

Thank you very much for completing the survey!

You identified yourself as very conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 3 out of 5 questions.
Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good as or better than 50 percent of others who are very conservative.

Robi Rahman writes:

I picked "slightly conservative" because there was no libertarian option. Anyway I got 5/5. The test was probably broken earlier today.

Floccina writes:

I only got 3 out of 5 not so good. I guess that I need to read more left blogs.

Kevin writes:

I self-identified as very conservative and got 5/5.

Floccina writes:

FWIW here is text that I got:

Thank you very much for completing the survey!

You identified yourself as very conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 3 out of 5 questions.
Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good as or better than 49 percent of others who are very conservative.

AMW writes:

I self-identified as slightly conservative and got 5/5. I didn't choose any of the snarky "rich people bad/government good" answers. But for most of the questions I saw at least 2 answers that seemed plausible and rolled the dice on one of them. Same for the conservative questions, frankly.

Michael Nichols writes:

4/5 here as very conservative economically.

The Original CC writes:

Is it possible that the first 5-10 commenters on this thread took the test before *any* liberals had taken it and that's why they scored 0/5?

Steve S writes:

So I clicked the button identifying myself as economically conservative and then the final page came back with,

"You identified yourself as very liberal."

Something's not right.

FWIW I matched 4/5 conservative arguments, which they said was better than 96% of other very liberal people. So that's what's happening on the other side.

Tyler writes:

My results:

"You identified yourself as very conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 4 out of 5 questions.
Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good as or better than 82 percent of others who are very conservative."

I found it much easier to choose the liberal responses. I often wanted to split my responses on the conservative side of things.

Simon writes:

"You identified yourself as very conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 5 out of 5 questions."

I think that's luck to some extent (some choices were difficult), but I chose answers based on my assessment of what people actually tend to believe, not what was the best argument for the position.

Unfortunately, I did the same for the conservative answers.

I guess you could call this test an ideological Turing-Keynesian beauty contest?

Steve S writes:

Figured it out, I'm dumb. If you click outside the radio button (even far off to the right) it still makes a selection. So I clicked the screen by "Very Liberal" before scrolling down.

Got a 3/5 for guessing liberal responses.

Mike H writes:

I got a 3/5 for liberals because I was too generous to their position when my gut was probably more accurate. I meta-Turing-ed myself...

Pretty sure I was 5/5 for conservatives, which I should be since I hang out with them online much more.

I put "very conservative," but that feels strange as an anarcho-capitalist...

Colombo writes:

My results:

You identified yourself as very conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 3 out of 5 questions.

Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good as or better than 50 percent of others who are very conservative.

------------

This was weird.
It surprised me that it only gave me information on how well I am in identifying liberals. I was hoping it would give info also on conservatives. So I have to repeat the test. Boring.

I pass as a very conservative person among leftists. I pass as a very progressive person among rightists. Those who think of themselves as being part of the political "center" call me a radical. Libertarians say I'm a centrist.

Am I a political platypus?

I used to say I was a libertarian, but now I think I'm a complementarian.

Alan Watson writes:

I'm surprised at all the 0/5 scores reported in the comments. I got 5/5, self-identified as slightly conservative (I hate that way of thinking; I lean toward classical liberalism), and I just tried to think what the typical NY times reader would think. It seemed pretty straightforward to me.

Mauro Mello Jr writes:

"You identified yourself as slightly conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 5 out of 5 questions.

Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good or better than 100 percent of others who are slightly conservative."

A daily dose of Café Hayek, Econlog, askblog, ProfessorBainbridge, Organizations and Markets, davidfriedman and Coordination Problem works very well.

Glen writes:

Per Daniel Fountain:

For anyone wondering the correct answers (5/5 , 5/5) are:

D, A, C, C, A, A, A, A, A, B

If one answers as a “moderate,” then the survey scores both liberal and conservative responses.

My first attempt scored 4/5 on liberal and 5/5 on conservative. My “mistake” was assuming that liberals supported economic stimulus programs because they “prevent the most vulnerable from being hurt in a recession,” when they apparently believe that these programs “are effective at improving output and employment.”

Tom Crispin writes:

that was easy


You identified yourself as very conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 5 out of 5 questions.

Tom Crispin writes:

It helps to remember that this is an economic turing test, not what you would get asking random students at college.

john hare writes:

Slightly conservative and 4 out of 5. I think most of the 0 results were an artifact of answering what you think their reasoning is rather than what they think their reasoning is.

This was a survey in doublethink capability. This capability is quite valuable in business and conflict. If you have some understanding of how your adversary self-perceives, you have an advantage over those that project their own views, and even more over those that take an unmodified us-them attitude.

Daniel Kuehn writes:

Moderate with conservative 3/5 and liberal 2/5. All of these views are represented so there should probably be a weight assigned (and you get more points if you choose something a higher share answered). I hope they make this data available.

It is very much a Keynesian beauty contest spin on it since its trained by liberals' views of average liberal views.

Edogg writes:

Having recently seen the Democratic debate, I chose moderate. (I'm probably very liberal relative to these comment sections.)

I got a 4/5 on conservatives and 5/5 on liberals.

I think the key is not picking the best reasons. Nor what you think are the underlying gut reactions that are really driving the policy positions. Instead try to pick the responses a politician would use.

Ignoto writes:

This is a poorly conceived and executed survey because:


  • It doesn't clearly distinguish whether it is asking what people believe, or asking what they say. [A true Turing test would make clear it is asking about what people say]. What people will say when asked to justify their beliefs will often differ from their most important reasons for holding those beliefs, for instance if they think that exaggerating their beliefs will be more effective at persuading others or signalling group membership, or if they assume that a certain style of answer is conventionally expected.
  • It doesn't allow for the possibility of explanations being offered at different levels of specificity, or provide any criteria for choosing among levels. For example, people may believe that Policy X is bad for the economy, and may also believe that there is a particular mechanism through which this happens. Which is their "real" or "most important" reason? The question either does not make sense, or is unclear. [Again, instructions that are clearly based on what people say would provide such criteria, because presumably the frequency with which people offer general over specific explanations can be empirically measured. Whether general or specific explanations are more real or more important cannot.]
  • It doesn't allow for the fact that people can be "liberal" or "conservative" for different ethical reasons, or that there are different dimensions of liberal/conservative even when we stick to economic policy questions. For example, one could oppose Policy X either on grounds of utility or desert -- cutting taxes will lead to economic growth, or it allows people to keep more of what they earn. Both are intellectually valid conservative reasons; conservatives may differ in which they think [sorry, which they say] is most important. Which answer is more frequent in the general population? The survey designers make no attempt to find out and so are on shaky ground telling people that their guesses are wrong.

I don't know whether the authors of this survey hope to get a publication out of it, but if I were the referee, I would advise the editor to reject any article based on the current survey, and for the authors to think hard about observability issues -- i.e., whether beliefs can in principle be observed using this methodology.

For what it is worth, I am a market-oriented economist who identifies as politically liberal and I got 1/5 on the test. [The test didn't tell me which one.] You could say my views simply reflect wounded pride, but my guess [apparently validated by the reports of previous commentators] is that I would do just as poorly at identifying the "beliefs" of self-identified liberals.

Mark V Anderson writes:

I got 3 out of 5. I didn't try to answer as I thought self-identified liberals would answer; I answered what I thought the average liberal truly thinks. And ditto for the conservatives, although of course they didn't say how well I answered that one.

But as someone said, it didn't ask how the respondents would answer, they asked how conservatives and liberals would answer. Since I labeled myself as very conservative economically, they must be using my answers for conservatives as if I were answering for myself. I most emphatically was not. I sometimes put down what I consider dumb answers because I think that's the average conservative response. Perhaps some of the confusion above relates to the same thing of self-labeled liberals.

I do think the survey needs to be re-tooled. I suspect every person comes from a slightly different perspective, and also different from the authors' perspective.

Miguel Madeira writes:

"You identified yourself as very liberal. Your score in correctly choosing conservatives' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified conservatives to date) was 5 out of 5 questions.

Your score in identifying conservatives' reasoning is as good as or better than 100 percent of others who are very liberal."

Miguel Madeira writes:

I am a kind of council communists who spend most of the time reading libertarian blogs; perhaps it helps?

Greego writes:

Ignoring the bogus USA conservative/liberal economic axis (on which I identified as 'very conservative', meaning what 'very liberal' would mean elsewhere in the English-speaking world) I got 4/5 for the 'liberal' questions. Rather than try to game the test I tried to imagine what most educated 'liberals' (i.e. lefties) actually say when attempting to provide reasoning for their views. In fact I considered comments that I normally would come across on this blog. I struggled more with the 'conservative' questions, mainly because on a couple of them I couldn't find the most likely answer. Which indicates to me that no 'conservatives' were involved in writing these questions.

E. Harding writes:

D*mn. Two out of five questions. Trying again, making sure to think like a liberal...

Three out of five. D*mn. Liberals must be crazier than I thought.

MikeP writes:

The way I got 4/5 on liberal was by following WWPKA.

Apparently he would answer that high taxes "permit socially desirable expenditures, paid for by those who disproportionately gain from the system" rather than "raise large amounts of revenue without significantly affecting overall output".

On further reflection, I might just agree that he still has enough economist in him to avoid the risk of deadweight loss in his answer.

DMK writes:

5 for 5, really. I guess I tried to think from the progressive's point of view. I ID'd as Very Conservative though a libertarian.

Anonymous writes:

So this is interesting: I tried getting a 4/5 for each side, once identifying as strongly liberal, once as strongly conservative.

A 4/5 on liberal answers gets you better than 81% of strongly conservative test takers. A 4/5 on conservative answers gets you better than 96% of strongly liberal test takers.

For slightly liberal and slightly conservative test takers - 4/5 as a slight liberal gets you better than, again, 96% of test takers. 4/5 as a slight conservative gets your better than 84% of slight conservatives.

Obviously this might be confounded by lots of things. Maybe conservatives are more inclined to retake the test to improve their score. Also these numbers will obviously change as more people take the test. Perhaps this trend will hold or perhaps not. It'll be interesting to see.

DTC writes:

I got 2/5 for a self-described "slightly liberal." There is definitely a bug in the code, though, because I tested my answers with every possible answer given for #3 and it never changed my score.

Michael writes:

5/5. Self described very conservative, picked 5/5 liberal positions. The key is to remember that the other side does not view e themselves as evil, they will choose a response that aligns to a self perception of being "good". The answers are actually pretty obvious on both sides when applying that filter.

I always try and remember that - my ideological opponent does not see themselves as evil, though they do tend to see my position as evil. I tend to view their position as misguided with good intentions, rather than taking the evil approach

john hare writes:

Michael,

Well said, very well said.

Miguel Madeira writes:

Ignoto: "Both are intellectually valid conservative reasons; conservatives may differ in which they think [sorry, which they say] is most important. Which answer is more frequent in the general population? The survey designers make no attempt to find out"

I think the test itself is the attempt, no?

Joe b writes:

i identified as very conservative, and got 3/5 for liberals. I answered what I thought my dad would say, since he's the most politically active liberal who's beliefs I know fairly well. Whether I don't know him well enough or he doesn't match the most common liberals' answers in the test is tough to say. Both, probably.

Anonymous writes:

Oh, wow. The anonymous from above here again - I tried the test again, this time getting 3/5 as each of a strong conservative and strong liberal, and found that 3/5 gets you better than 48% of strong conservatives, and 84% of strong liberals.

To be fair, I don't know where this test has been shared. If it's gotten a large proportion of its attempts from EconLog readers that might explain this skew.

I'm going to stop screwing up their results now. Hopefully they are logging IPs along with attempts and can remove all but the first attempt from each IP, or something similar. But... it is interesting that the results I can glean so far seem to support the conjecture that, if I recall, led Bryan to invent the concept of the Ideological Turing Test in the first place.

Miguel Madeira writes:

First, who is publicizing that study? If who is linking to that page are, in most cases, liberatian or conservative bloggers (like Econlog) could be a bias there - "liberals" who answered the test will be: a) "liberals" with a good understanding of the conservative position; and b)"liberals" who like to discuss with opponents, meaning that probablu they will have more rational/less intuitive positions than the average "liberal".

Richard Berger writes:

I took it yesterday and got 0/5. Took it today and got 4/5 in understanding liberals. I think I changed one answer from yesterday. ID as very conservative. Something odd is happening with this test. BTW, is there really only one answer that a liberal or conservative must give? I think that the answers would be more like Family Feud distributions.

Hasdrubal writes:

Richard: The test is using other peoples' responses to calculate your score, so all those 0/5s yesterday were because not enough "liberals" had answered yet for the test to determine what they typical liberal thought.

Jeremey Arnold writes:

So I said 'Very Conservative' and I got 3 out 5 which it told me was in the 48th percentile. Clearly we here at Econlog are NOT representative.

Chris Wegener writes:

I think that the confusion demonstrated by the commentators here track very closely with the response I have received fro my post.

I find that the majority of the response fail to address or deal with my comments and instead supplant a 'straw man' argument to respond to. Rarely are there seriously replies but rather a strong echo chamber effect where replies reinforce the existing conservative narrative.

PhilipD writes:

I rated myself as very liberal. I answered the questions from a classical conservative point of view and got 2 of 5 correct. Then I took it a second time from the perspective of my conservative friends and neighbors, and got 3 of 5 correct.

I think the fundamental problem with the test is that there are multiple types of conservatives that could be your frame of reference, and the more you about their opinions the harder it is to choose an answer.

For example, a conservative economist is likely to give a different answer from what you’d get from a conservative layman. A tea party conservative is likely to give a different answer from that of a mainstream conservative. And those of us who know GOP political strategies might choose yet another answer that reflects the goals of conservative political elites.

Take the deficit question. Tea partiers and gold bugs fret about deficit spending because they think it’ll lead to hyperinflation and an economic collapse, a la Germany between the wars.

Conservative economists are more likely to be concerned that deficit spending will crowd out private sector borrowing and undermine economic growth.

GOP political elites oppose deficit spending because it finances entitlement and other domestic spending programs, and they want to “starve the beast” (except, of course, when they’re in power, and then the deficit doesn’t matter, as Dick Cheney said, because the spending goes to the military and homeland security industrial complex–or to cement support among seniors, a la Medicare Part D.)

And if you’re a liberal answering the questions from the perspective of an “informed” conservative layman, there’s another problem: the conservative message machine. The ubiquitous dissemination of conservative talking points through their media channels has armed laymen with arguments that are prepackaged for use in political discussions.

I see this with my conservative friends. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what their opinion is and what they think is a good argument. And the fact that their arguments are sometimes inconsistent with each other further complicates determining what they really think.

A more interesting test would be one in which conservatives and liberals are asked to determine the truth or falsity of “facts” and statements that are commonly cited by each side.

Ismail Ouraich writes:

My results:

You identified yourself as moderate. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 3 out of 5 questions.
Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good as or better than 56 percent of others who are moderate.
Your score in correctly choosing conservatives' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified conservatives to date) was 5 out of 5 questions.
Your score in identifying conservatives' reasoning is as good as or better than 100 percent of others who are moderate.

Justin D writes:

I took the test as very conservative, got 3 out of 5 liberal questions correct.

I selected the reasons I felt were the most persuasive to me, so that's probably why I missed a few. I deliberately avoided answers that sounded like they were from the HuffPost comments.

For most of the questions, there were multiple answers that mapped onto reasons I have seen liberals give for believing what they do, which made it difficult to select one.

Todd Kreider writes:

Weird test.

Anyway, I identified as a moderate.

I got 4 of 5 correct about liberals scoring better than 88 percent of moderates (all 5 of us.)

I got 3 of 5 correct about conservatives scoring better than 76 percent of moderates.

Bedarz Iliaci writes:

4/5 as a very conservative.

You identified yourself as very conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 4 out of 5 questions.

Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good as or better than 81 percent of others who are very conservative.

Duncan Frissell writes:

As a hard core conservative anarchist with a BA in Econ I got 4/5. You can't answer as an economist. You have to answer as a normal person. Simpler correct answers is what a normal person would give. Liberals obviously think that money For social programs is worth risks of deficits. Etc


Unemployment from free trade is worse than lower prices. I wonder which I blew?

Dain writes:

I identified as slightly conservative.

Got 3 out of 5.

"As good as or better than 54 percent of people who are slightly conservative."

Michaek Kolczynski writes:

Thank you very much for completing the survey!

You identified yourself as very conservative. Your score in correctly choosing liberals' reasoning (based on answers given by self-identified liberals to date) was 5 out of 5 questions.
Your score in identifying liberals' reasoning is as good as or better than 100 percent of others who are very conservative.

Mike Reid writes:

It's disorienting when it asks me whether I'm "liberal" on economic issues. And my knee-jerk response was to click "very liberal" because I believe in liberating the economy! But I think in it's terms I'm "Very conservative"

Anyway, I only got 2 out of 5 for my Turing test on liberals! Ouch!

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