The Corner

You Don’t Need a Ph.D. in Economics to Think Like an Economist

Based on a  Zogby International online survey of 4,835 American adults, Columbia University psychologist Zeljka Buturovic and George Mason University economist Dan Klein find that economic enlightenment is not correlated to going to college.

They also find that it is the highest among those self-identifying “conservative” and “libertarian,” and descends through “moderate,” “liberal,” and “progressive.” Other variables include party affiliation, religious participation, union membership, NASCAR fandom, and Wal-Mart patronage. Their results were just published in the new volume of Econ Journal Watch.

Even with the caveats in mind, however, the results are important. They indicate that, for people inclined to take such a survey, basic economic enlightenment is not correlated with going to college. We also show economic enlightenment by ideological groups—the “conservatives” and “libertarians” do significantly better than the “liberals,” “progressives,” and “moderates”—and we show that the finding about education holds up when we look within each ideological group (with perhaps the exception of the “conservative” group).

Read the whole thing here.


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