economists were more likely than the public to support the U.S. auto bailouts, by 58.6 percent to 52 percent. They were also more likely to support President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus bill, by 52.8 percent to 43.4 percent. More economists — over 97 percent — were in favor of tax hikes, and fewer supported school-voucher programs.
He cites a paper by Sapienza and Zingales.
On a related note, Barry Eichengreen praises capital controls.
It’s fair to say that the vast majority of economists are deeply skeptical about (if not downright hostile toward) their imposition. Yet it is not hard to find evidence in international financial markets of the kind of distortions that are likely to lead to imperfect information and, as a result, to economically inefficient and socially undesirable outcomes.
Pointer from Mark Thoma.
In a related essay, Smith argues that the current debate in economics is between the center-left and the radical left.
The New Center-Left Consensus is attractive to academics and policy wonks. It draws on an eclectic mix of mainstream economic theory, empirical studies and historical experience. It refuses to assume, as many conservatives and libertarians do, that free markets are always the best unless there is a glaring case for government intervention. It’s more willing to entertain all kinds of ways that government can improve the economy, from welfare to infrastructure spending to regulation, but it also recognizes that these won’t always work. . .
But there’s a second strain of progressive economic thinking that is gaining attention and strength. This alternative could be called the New Heterodox Explosion. It’s basically a movement to purge mainstream economics from progressive policy-making and thought.
Smith and the left dismiss those of us who favor free markets as outmoded and simple-minded. So the real debate is between economists who believe that elite mainstream economists know best how to fix the economy and others who believe that complexity theorists or evolutionary economists know best how to fix the economy.
I think that he accurately portrays the state of the discussion. I cannot think of a period in my life when market-oriented economists had less respect, unless it was the early 1960s when “fine tuning” had yet to be discredited.