Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Stimulus is Favoured by most economists

The IGM Forum produces a poll of a sample of the world's top Economists on a variety of issues. The sample includes a wide variety of opinions, including Alesina, Goolsbee, Acemoglu and many others. The results are supposed to be a quick glance at how the economics profession feels about any given topic. The sample size is 40, for obvious Central Limit Theorem / Law of Large Numbers related reasons. (The short version is that 40 is about the number when a population sample tends to become reliably reflective of the wider population, provided that you're not distinguishing the sample by too many variables).

This is just one of many, many interesting results. The overwhelming consensus among economists is that the stimulus created jobs. More importantly, I suppose, it is also by far the most commonly held view that the benefits outweighed the cost. 78% of those expressing an opinion pro or con said the benefits outweighed the costs. It is worth saying here however that the sample size is somewhat small, since almost 1/3 of those asked did not express a firm opinion either way.

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