David Bell's picture
Affiliation: 
University of Stirling
Credentials: 
Professor of Economics

Voting history

German Council of Economic Experts' view of ECB policy

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Question 1: Do you agree that exceptionally loose monetary policy by the European Central Bank is no longer appropriate?

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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
The belief that simultaneously tightening monetary and fiscal policy and relying on structural reform to revive the European economy without any consideration of the weakness of demand seems to reflect a triumph of hope over experience.

Are academic economists ‘in touch’ with voters and politicians?

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Question 7: Voters did not know that there was near-unanimity among economists.

Do you agree that this was an important reason for a majority of UK voters going against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
Attempts to convey the unanimity message seemed to have little resonance with the media, partly because some outlets (mostly print) didn't want to convey this, while other were bound to convey the "on the one hand, on the other" form of argument.

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Question 5: Voters think that the preferences of economists do not align with their own preferences. (This includes the possibility that they thought that the predicted negative economic consequences would not affect them personally).

Do you agree this was an important reason for a majority of UK voters going against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Economists were portrayed as another privileged group that benefited from EU membership. How often was the link made to often tenuous links to EU funding used as a means of discrediting their messages? If you don't like the message, attack the messenger.

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Question 6: Economists did not explain the reasons for this consensus in sufficiently clear language.

Do you agree this was an important reason for a majority of UK voters going against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
There are far too few academic economists with the ability to convey their arguments clearly to the public, or even with an interest in engaging with the public (doesn't count towards the REF?).

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Question 4: Voters did not believe the economic arguments put forward (for example, because they thought the arguments put forward by macroeconomists with dissenting views made more sense or because voters have little faith in economists in general).

Do you agree that this was an important reason for a majority of UK voters going against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Messages were coming from a variety of sources - press, interest groups, politicians as well as economists. Not clear that economists were able to portray themselves as a distinctive, and more authoritative, source of information.

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