Mapping economists’ belief spaces using survey data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Most survey research on the beliefs of economists has focused on measuring consensus within the profession. Researchers have given less emphasis to other aspects of the organization of economists’ belief systems. This paper shows using representative survey data for the first time that economists’ beliefs on an important subset of policy-relevant beliefs are ideologically aligned, despite moderately high levels of agreement on these issues. The analysis does not support the existence of a second dimension of alignment capturing a Keynesian/anti-Keynesian split on macroeconomic stabilization topics. Going beyond conventional methods, the paper also reports the results of belief network centrality and correlational class analyses, methods motivated by recent developments in cognitive science and cultural sociology. This analysis suggests that beliefs including those relating to inequality and redistribution, the level of government spending, environmental regulation, and the minimum wage play a generative role in economists’ belief systems. The results also indicate that the main source of heterogeneity in economists' belief systems is between ideologically aligned and less ideologically aligned subgroups. There is limited evidence of qualitatively distinct patterns of construals of relations between beliefs. Finally, although the analysis is tentative, I fail to find evidence supporting the hypothesis of a decrease in ideological alignment since the 1970s.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-557
Number of pages41
JournalŒconomia - History, Methodology, Philosophy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • ideology
  • belief spaces
  • economics profession


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