Ray Barrell's picture
Affiliation: 
Brunel University London
Credentials: 
professor of economics

Voting history

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

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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:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident

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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:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Confident

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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:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident

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Question 3: Voters chose to leave the EU for non-economic reasons.

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

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Question 2: What do you think is the most likely reason that a majority of UK voters went against the near unanimous advice of the economics profession?

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Answer:
A. Non-economic reasons more important
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
Persuasive politicians, who describe their opponents as 'like the Nazi scientists who criticised Einstein' are difficult to answer when few academic economists have any media capacity or experience. If the public are unaware that we are expressing more than our opinions, but rather the result of careful empirical research, then they will be hard to influence. They may prefer their own opinions. The decision to leave was probably based on a generalised unhappiness with current conditions, with no evidence being presented to explain the EU's lack of role in that. Whether preferences describe political decision making is another question, but we saw a political rejection of the current situation. We do not clearly know why, but we do know referenda are the wrong way to make such complex decisions. That people have voted to leave does not change the outcome of leaving. Underlying growth will be low for a decade, and we will be 3 to 6 percent poorer than otherwise in ten years, with less foreign investment and less competition. There is no need to change what we are saying, and we have to argue for outcomes that minimise the damage.

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