Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Do Economists Believe American Democracy Is Working?

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Abstract

Fresh results of a 2006 survey of members of the American Economic Association suggest that many economists do not seem to believe that American democracy is working—that is, advancing society’s welfare. Regardless of political party affiliation, a large majority of economists appear to be skeptical of elected officials and the political process. We discuss these findings in relation to what many, including ourselves, perceive to be a problem in the economics profession, namely, an undue focus on the policy status quo. If economists do not believe that the political process works well, why is there so much focus on the status quo, and, more specifically, so little challenge to status quo interventions?