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Fall 2009
ISSN 0890-913X
Volume 25, Number 1

Economic Bias and Ideology: Evidence from the General Social Survey

Stephen C. Miller, Western Carolina University
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TheJournalofPrivateEnterprise25(1),2009,31-49EconomicBiasandIdeology:EvidencefromtheGeneralSocialSurveyStephenC.Miller*WesternCarolinaUniversityAbstractThispaperexaminestheconnectionbetweenpoliticalideologyandfourdistinctcategoriesofeconomicbias:anti-marketbias,make-workbias,antiforeignbias,andpessimisticbias(Caplan,2007).Self-identifiedRepublicansandconservativesintheUnitedStatestendtohavelessbiasedbeliefsabouteconomicsthantheirDemocraticandliberalcounterparts.Thatis,theyarelesspronetotheanti-marketbiasandmake-workbiasasdescribedbyCaplan(2007).Thisresultholds,evenwhencontrollingforavarietyofdemographicfactors.Anotableexceptionisintheareaofinternationaleconomics,whereconservatives(butnotnecessarilyRepublicans)aremorelikelytoexhibitanti-foreignbias.Afourthcategoryofbias,pessimisticbias,doesnotappeartobestronglyconnectedwitheitherpartyidentificationorideology.JELCodes:D83,D84,D72Keywords:Economicbelief;VotercognitionI.IntroductionThispaperexaminestheconnectionbetweenpoliticalideologyandfourdistinctcategoriesofeconomicbias:anti-marketbias,makeworkbias,anti-foreignbias,andpessimisticbias(Caplan,2007).ThebasisforevaluatingandlabelingthesebiasesisCaplans(2002,2007)findingthateconomistsandthepublicsystematicallydisagreewitheachotheronawidevarietyofeconomicissues.IntheSurveyofAmericansandEconomistsontheEconomy(SAEE),itisclearthatthepublic,whencomparedtoprofessionaleconomists,islessoptimisticaboutthebenefitsoffreemarketinteractionandthegainsfromtrade,morelikelytoviewemploymentasthegoalofan*IwishtothankBryanCaplan,JeffreyFriedman,DanDAmico,ArtCarden,twoanonymousreferees,andparticipantsatthe2008APEEmeetingsforhelpfulcommentsonearlierdraftsofthispaper.Responsibilityforallremainingerrorsismine.31
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