OhThere are BSERVERS He used to have fun for a long time because of his disability in the profession of economics. “If Parliament asks six economists for opinions, seven will return,” runs a version of an old joke. Yet the gibbons are losing their strength. A new study by Doris Gaid-Stevenson and Alvaro La Para Perez of Weber State University found that economists are becoming more and more in agreement on a number of policy-related questions.
The paper publishes the latest wave results from a survey of economists conducted almost a decade after 1976 (although the results of the first wave are not entirely comparable to those of the latter). Members of the American Economic Association were asked if they agreed with a number of proposals, ranging from the economic impact of the minimum wage increase to the desire for universal health insurance. Based on the response frequency, the researchers created an indicator that captured the level of consensus on each question.
The results suggest that the amount of consensus has increased significantly. Economists strongly agree with the recent wave proposal of about one-third, down from about 15% in 2011 and less than 10% in 1990 (see top panel). Respondents were more united in diagnosing their economic problems. And, surprisingly, most of them were convinced of the need for muscle policy.
Inequality was a growing concern. The proportion of respondents who fully or partially agree that the distribution of income in the United States should be more even increased from 68% in 2000 to 86% in 2020-21. Absolutely 85% thought corporate power was too concentrated. Another concern was climate change, which most agreed was a major risk to the economy. (Both questions were asked for the first time in the last wave.)
Surprisingly, based on their views on market power, respondents’ support for the strong use of the no-confidence policy has grown significantly over the past two decades (see panel below). Another significant change was in the stimulus of revenue activism. Further economists thought that the Federal Reserve could not conduct business cycles alone সম্ভবত perhaps consistent with its policy rate falling to zero এবং and were keen for a bigger role for the government. Many more agree that fiscal policy can have significant economic implications, both in times of recession and in the long run.
The frustrated science has not become completely harmonious, though. Economists have been somewhat divided over the recent wave of income and capital gains tax cuts, with almost half of respondents agreeing with their proposal and the rest disagreeing. Enough space, still, for healthy debate.
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This article is published in the Finance and Economics section of the print edition under the title “New Consensus”