Ricardo Reis's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics and Columbia University
Credentials: 
Professor of economics

Voting history

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

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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:
Not 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:
Confident

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Question 1: Do you agree that the economics profession needs an institutional change that promotes the ability to communicate more effectively with policy-makers and the public at large and to make clear when economists have a united view; and do you agree that we need to introduce leadership to help achieve this improvement through coordinated efforts?

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Answer:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
The medical community has two such institutions, the Royal College of Physicians and the British Medical Association. They both clearly came out with united views against Brexit (http://ind.pn/1Zn5QZu), which was a referendum as much about economics as it was about health and medical science given the number of EU-joint policies in this domains. Yet, I see no reason to believe that they succeeded relative to economists at getting their message across (and both failed ultimately in terms of swaying the result). So, to the first part of the question: no, I am not convinced that institutional change to make us more like the Royal College of Nurses would make us more effective in the public debate. To the second part of the question: absolutely not, I don't think more leadership is necessary. As intellectuals, we are more effective when we come up with independent thoughts and arguments that, then when put together, may end up making a diverse strong case for a particular policy option. Surveys like this one ran by the CFM are terrific at reaching this goal. Having a "leader" deciding on what is the "common view" would be stifling to scientific inquiry and ultimately work against academic freedom. These should be our ultimate goals, above the pursuit of policy influence.

Brexit: the potential of a financial catastrophe and long-term consequences for the UK financial sector

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Question 3: What do you think will be the overall economic consequences of Brexit for the UK?

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Answer:
Mildly negative
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
There is great uncertainty on how large the effects will be, but few good arguments and no serious study showing that the effects would be anything but negative.

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