Sir Charles Bean's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics
Credentials: 
MA Cambridge
PhD MIT

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:
Agree
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:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Extremely 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:
For many of those voting to leave, economists' warnings seem to have cut little ice, in part because public trust in economists' (and elites' more generally) ability to predict the future is very low (e.g. most didn't see the financial crisis coming, etc.). Concerns about controlling inward migration and reclaiming sovereignty appear to have weighed more heavily for those voting Leave.

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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:
Neither agree nor disagree
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
Academic economists need to be much better engaged with the concerns of policy makers and the public. Moreover, generally speaking the profession has gone backward in this regard over the past thirty years, But I am not convinced that institutional changes are the solution. In particular, I do not believe the state of knowledge on many economic matters is sufficiently settled to warrant a single institution prescribing the "profession's view". That said, we could do more to bring out the areas where economists do agree and to expose the flaws in popular economic discourse (the "lump of labour fallacy", etc).

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:
Significantly negative
Confidence level:
Confident
Comment:
While the post-Brexit trade arrangements have yet to be agreed, I find it difficult to conceive of any viable arrangement that does not involve some lowering in the ease with which UK businesses can trade with the rest of Europe. The potential gains from an ability to de-regulate as a result of Brexit are in my view overstated, as the UK government is likely to wish to retain regulations relating to issues such climate change and banking regulation, even where they formally originate at the EU level.

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