Apr 8, 2012

Ideological openness

A sample of 299 U.S. economics professors responded to our 2010 survey, which asked: “Suppose you are reading or listening to an economist, and he discloses his own ideological proclivities. Which best represents your attitude toward his doing so:” The results surprised us. Sixty-three percent of respondents chose “I welcome it,” twenty percent chose “I am indifferent,” and only ten percent chose “I dislike it.” Most economists, it appears, welcome ideological openness, and only a small minority dislikes it. Follow-up questions asked reasons why the respondent liked (or disliked) it. These results suggest that economists – or, at least those inclined to complete a survey – are quite inclined toward natural discourse.
That is from the interesting new paper "Most Economists Welcome Ideological Openness, A Survey Indicatesby Klein et al (April 2012). 

There are exceptions, but when it comes to considering the role of markets, probably most economists tend to think alike. It is also likely that most economists are suspicious of government interventions, although there are well known exceptions. Ideological openness, therefore, might be desirable by other economists because of belief confirmation. For the same reasons (but probably different believes) ideological openness might be desirable among anthropologists or sociologists. However, ideological openness might not be desirable when the population is more ideologically heterogenous, for example among social scientists in general. 

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