Are economists overconfident? Ideology and uncertainty in expert opinion

Austin C. Kozlowski*, Tod S. Van Gunten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Economics frequently serves as an advisory discipline to policymakers, bolstered in part by its claims to a unified intellectual framework and high disciplinary consensus. Recent research challenges this perspective, providing empirical evidence that economists' professional opinions are divided by ideological commitments to either free markets on one hand or state intervention on the other. We investigate the influence of ideology in economics by examining the relation between economists' ideological commitments and the certainty with which they express their expert opinions. To examine this relationship, we analyze data from the Initiative on Global Markets Economic Experts Panel, a unique survey of 51 economists at seven elite American universities. Our results suggest that economists with ideologically patterned views report higher levels of certainty in their opinions than their less ideologically consistent peers, but this boost in confidence is limited to topics that closely pertain to the free market versus interventionism divide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-500
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Volume74
Issue number3
Early online date15 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • culture and cognition
  • economists
  • political ideology
  • science and knowledge

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