Sunday, 15 February 2009

News flash: economists agree

Greg Mankiw has a News Flash: Economists Agree. Strange but true!

In chapter two of his first year textbook, Mankiw includes a table of propositions to which most economists subscribe, based on various polls of the profession. Below is the list, together with the percentage of economists who agree:
  1. A ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available. (93%)
  2. Tariffs and import quotas usually reduce general economic welfare. (93%)
  3. Flexible and floating exchange rates offer an effective international monetary arrangement. (90%)
  4. Fiscal policy (e.g., tax cut and/or government expenditure increase) has a significant stimulative impact on a less than fully employed economy. (90%)
  5. The United States should not restrict employers from outsourcing work to foreign countries. (90%)
  6. The United States should eliminate agricultural subsidies. (85%)
  7. Local and state governments should eliminate subsidies to professional sports franchises. (85%)
  8. If the federal budget is to be balanced, it should be done over the business cycle rather than yearly. (85%)
  9. The gap between Social Security funds and expenditures will become unsustainably large within the next fifty years if current policies remain unchanged. (85%)
  10. Cash payments increase the welfare of recipients to a greater degree than do transfers-in-kind of equal cash value. (84%)
  11. A large federal budget deficit has an adverse effect on the economy. (83%)
  12. A minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers. (79%)
  13. The government should restructure the welfare system along the lines of a “negative income tax.” (79%)
  14. Effluent taxes and marketable pollution permits represent a better approach to pollution control than imposition of pollution ceilings. (78%)
As Mankiw writes
If we could get the American public to endorse all these propositions, I am sure their leaders would quickly follow, and public policy would be much improved. That is why economics education is so important.
Given our government's recent moves on the minimum wage perhaps number 12 should be pointed out to them. Number 7 could be pointed out to the NZRU and NZ Cricket, along with the Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council . Number 6 would be great if followed by both the US and Europe. Number 2 needs to be emphasised a lot right now.


Actve said...

Suggest you to provide link to

and encourage your readers to use the Energy Environment Forum and get a link back !
energyenvironmentforum at gmail dot com

Nigel Kearney said...

I believe this is known as a 'scientific consensus' (for those who think consensus is the right way to decide these things).