Thursday, 18 October 2012

Graph(s) of the week: economists and elections

The Economist recently had a story on the survey conducted among America's economists on  how they feel about the current recovery, and how they assess each of the two Presidential candidates. It should be said that the whole survey was a bit biased towards President Obama, since 45% of the respondents rated themselves as Democrats, while 7% were Republicans. According to this it's even more surprising that the Romney campaign attracted over 600 US economists (6 Nobel prize winners) to sign up for the Hubbard-Taylor-Mankiw plan. I'm guessing not all of them responded in the survey. It attracted only 312 NBER research associates and 51 NABE forecast panel members (which is actually a fair sample). 


It's not that economists have any influence on who turns out to be the electoral winner, but it's interesting to examine how they feel on things they are supposed to be experts on, like the recovery. Even though they rarely agree with each other. 

The most interesting is the divide among the academics on the reason why the recovery is so slow:


It's good that they mostly agree that the recovery tends to be weak after a financial crisis (see graph 3 as well), but it's not so good that a lot of them don't realize the structural slowdown and an unsustainable pre-crisis growth model, which failed to respond to the technological shock of the past 15 years. 

4 comments:

  1. That survey was absolutely absurd. To think that anyone calling themselves an economist, or even an educated person would possibly think that the Democrats will perform better in fiscal discipline, growth, or immigration reform.(cause that was such a high priority for the administration wasn't it)

    I am not saying the Republicans are great, they are not. But it is hard to imagine how anyone, even if they set out to deliberately wreck the economy could have done a better job than this bunch of immature leftist ideologues we have running our country.

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    1. yes, that's why I said that it was a bit biased. This can only mean that even professional economists cannot escape ideology :)
      But as I said in the text I'm worried about the prevalence of opinion among economists over what is causing a slow recovery.

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  2. I would rate the following (I'm not an economist, but the effect is the same):
    policy uncertainty ... 5
    tight money ... 1
    tight fiscal policy ... 2
    outside shocks ... 3
    weak recovery after financial crisis ... 4
    structural growth slowdown ... 3

    so to sum up the blame is on policymakers now and before, inside and outside the country (eurozone), and a financial crisis effect, which is again partly policymakers

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    1. I'd put the weak recovery after the crisis as the biggest issue. The rest are just an effect of that, even the outside shocks if you think of the eurozone contagion threat

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