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Public Attitudes About Macroeconomic Policy in the United States

Authors:
Publication Date:
Jan 2013
Project Programs:
The Social and Economic Effects of the Great Recession

Remarkably little is known about the attitudes of Americans toward macroeconomic policies. Although social science and popular survey research given considerable attention to fiscal policies regarding taxing and spending, the correspondence between Americans’ attitudes and the major schools of economic thought that inform policy making has not been examined by public opinion scholars. This paper reports a first effort to identify that correspondence. We utilize a national survey conducted in July 2012 to analyze crosssectional variation in public attitudes about macroeconomic policies. The survey allows us to characterize the distribution of attitudes toward economic policy options. We do so by (a) exploring the ability of Americans to respond to questions about macroeconomic policy, (b) developing indices to measure agreement with the major schools of economic thought, (c) exploring the correlates of agreement with the major schools of economic thought, (d) determining how Americans cluster with respect to their attitudes about macroeconomic policy, and (e) exploring the correlates of cluster membership.

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