Economists and public opinion: Expert consensus and economic policy judgments
© 2015 by the Southern Political Science Association. All rights reserved. How do citizens view economists, and how do they respond to consensus in the profession? We examine the responsiveness of the American public to information regarding the distribution of opinion among economists on five economic policy issues. We also examine the extent and role of citizens' trust in economists. We find that trust is tepid and find correspondingly small-To-moderate changes in public opinion when citizens are given information about expert opinion. Indeed, we provide evidence that responsiveness is larger when the consensus is attributed to a generic sample of people than when it is attributed to economists. We also find heterogeneity in responsiveness across issues, such that opinion change is smaller on symbolic policy issues than technical ones. Further, on the former, but not the latter, we find that citizens use judgments of trust in economists in a motivated fashion, to reinforce prior opinions.
Johnston, CD; Ballard, AO
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)