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What Does the Public Know About Economic Policy, and How Does it Know it?

61 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2004  

Alan S. Blinder

Princeton University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Alan B. Krueger

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: September 2004

Abstract

Public opinion influences politicians, and therefore influences public policy decisions. What are the roles of self-interest, knowledge, and ideology in public opinion formation? And how do people learn about economic issues? Using a new, specially-designed survey, we find that most respondents express a strong desire to be well informed on economic policy issues, and that television is their dominant source of information. On a variety of major policy issues (e.g., taxes, social security, health insurance), ideology is the most important determinant of public opinion, while measures of self-interest are the least important. Knowledge about the economy ranks somewhere in between.

Suggested Citation

Blinder, Alan S. and Krueger, Alan B., What Does the Public Know About Economic Policy, and How Does it Know it? (September 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10787. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=595186

Alan S. Blinder (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Alan B. Krueger

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4046 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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