Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Overheard on Facebook: Why (many) Economists Prefer Obama

Apparently triggered by The Economist's recent survey:

Guy 1: Huh? Pro-market economists now prefer Obama, the Democrat? Whatever happened to the Republican bias? Ah. Maybe the magazine's assertion is true: Bush has ruined everything. Even its market ideology.

Guy 2: Or... possibly because McCain's more likely be supported by more "established" economists, which also are less likely to respond to surveys...

Guy 1: Possibly. But if it's true then I want to know why "established" economists and their younger peers would have such different views. In any case this "survey" is probably as (un)scientific as the list of 500+ economists endorsing McCain's economic plan. But this comes with pretty graphs.

Guy 3: Is it because *established* economists think responding to surveys is irrational? (LOL)

Guy 2 to Guy 1: One possible hypothesis is if establishedness is correlated with age, there may be greater homophily with McCain amongst nonrespondents.

Guy 2 to Guy 3: Opportunity costs for established economists in responding to surveys may be higher. (But this can go both ways).

Guy 4: Or maybe, just maybe, many that responded was reflecting politics over economics. Many sane economists are liberal (in classical terms, i.e. libertarians). And many of classical liberals/libertarians oppose war. Obama opposes Bush's wars, esp Iraq. McCain is going to continue it.

Guy 1: That's a very plausible explanation. The survey merely reflects which candidate the respondents will vote for, all things considered. The war is one thing, the general notion that the administration and the social conservative wing of the GOP are at odds with science (e.g. intelligent design vs evolution) is another thing.

Guy 4: Or, (while i'm speculating, haha), NBER is in MA. MA is a blue state (LOL) Yes, of course the NBER economists come from different places, but being housed in MA, they're exposed disproportionally in favor of Democrat Party's campaign, I guess (speaking of imperfect information)... i'm talking about what the survey calls "unaffiliated economists" (those not identifying themselves as democrat or republican)... Again i'm speculating (LOL)

Guy 5:
Or.. (nonsense talking)... those who responded are inspired, young-mid aged economists who are keen to see capitalism to have market self-discipline, not market orgy/gang-bang of capitalists. While established economists are like dead men walking (they're as old as Friedman) and had enough of those parties in the mid 80s - late 90s

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