Only 12% of economists think the costs of the stimulus outweighed its benefits & 93% agree it lowered unemployment
A rather bold headline, considering the rather small sample size (40 economists, some of who didn’t respond). One of the responders was Austan Goolsbee, who, just maybe, should have been disqualified from participating in such a poll, given his own responsibility for the stimulus in question.
And also, considering that only 46% agreed or strongly agreed that the stimulus was worth it, it might have been more fair to note that a majority of economists were at least uncertain as to whether the stimulus was actually a good thing.
Just about everyone agrees that if the government spends money that will have to be paid back generations later, it can reduce short-term unemployment. But as these polls demonstrate, most economists aren’t sure that this is a good idea.
Polls like these tend to be either utterly pointless (since they essentially address an ideological question) or purposefully misleading.
I responded to last month’s poll by this same group, IGM’s Chicago Booth, here. Not unlike the above, the blogger I responded to used the spurious metric “economists everywhere.” I demonstrated that IGM’s panel is hardly representative of such a designation. I explained that consensus among their chosen group was “like asking your local butcher if eating meat should be outlawed.” Its inherent ideological bias renders agreement meaningless.
And it spite of such leanings, as Jeff points out, less than a plurality conclude that the stimulus produced a net benefit - something that is not likely to be conveyed from the misleading title of the original link.