Wouter Den Haan's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics
Credentials: 
Professor of economics

Voting history

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

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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

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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

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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:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Very 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
Comment:
Although I do have the feeling that there was no or not much "respect" for the opinion of experts, I suspect that the desire for British voters to "go their own way" was more important.

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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:
Agree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
This question is about a lot of things. I chose to answer with "agree," because I think that the academic profession does not have the right balance in terms of the amount of time spent doing abstract research done mainly for the benefit of other academics and the amount of time spent doing research that is more directly useful for policy makers and the public at large. I also do think that it would be useful to have a prestigious institute that clearly and fairly disseminates existing academic knowledge (and acknowledges when we don't really know). I cannot quite see how we could create such an institution with wide support of the profession. I think there are other ways to correct the main problem, which is the imbalance between abstract research and applied research with more direct benefits. In particular, funding agencies like the ESRC can play a role in correcting this balance.

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