The new issue of Econ Journal Watch

The link is here, the table of contents is described as follows: 

Economic enlightenment is not correlated with going to college, at least among the 4835 Americans who completed a Zogby International online survey. Economic enlightenment is 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. Zogby researcher Zeljka Buturovic and Daniel Klein report.

When the White House changes party, do economists change their tune on budget deficits? Brett Barkley does a systematic investigation. Six economists are found to change their tune – Paul Krugman in a significant way, Alan Blinder in a moderate way, and Martin Feldstein, Murray Weidenbaum, Paul Samuelson, and Robert Solow in a minor way – while eleven are found to be fairly consistent.

44 economists answer the questionnaire about a market-failure rationale for pre-market approval of drugs and devices:
The questionnaire posed reform questions and tested responses. The 44 interviews provide a rich set of discourse that help one decide: Is there a sensible market-failure rationale?
Supporters of pre-market approval include Kenneth Arrow, John E. Brazier, William Comanor, Randall P. Ellis, John Hutton, Naoki Ikegami, Jonathan Karnon, Gérard de Pouvourville, F.M. Scherer, and 14 others.
The supporters of liberalization are James F. Burgess, Jr., Noel Campbell, J. Jaime Caro, Thomas DeLeire, David Dranove, Dale Gieringer, Paul Grootendorst, David Henderson, Randall Holcombe, Charles Hooper, Sam Peltzman, Paul Rubin, Shirley Svorny, Robert Tollison, and Michael R. Ward.
The Euro symposium response: Lars Jonung and Eoin Drea respond to commentators on their study of what US economists were saying about the prospect of the euro, and comment on recent events and debates.
Econometric errors in an Applied Economics article. Dimitris Hatzinikolaou reports on the article and his efforts to get his critique heard.
A 1903 letter against protectionism in Britain endorsed by 16 economists including Bastable, Bowley, Cannan, Edgeworth, Marshall, Pigou, Scott, and Smart.

The first one is sure to cause some controversy and I view it in part as an attempt to revise the portrait of the elites put forward by Bryan Caplan; I await his response.  My own view is that "who in the general public understands economics best" is very sensitive to which questions we ask.  Libertarian-leaning voters have a better understanding of government failure, but left-leaning voters are more likely to understand adverse selection or aggregate demand management.  Which is a more important topic?  That may depend on the researcher's own point of view.  What's the closest we can come to a value-neutral test of whether elites or the "common man" understand economic reasoning better?  In the meantime, Bram Cohen understands economics pretty well.


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