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Economic Knowledge: A Survey

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Aristophanes Posted: Thu, Apr 5 2012 8:37 PM

Spoilers: Ego booster.

"This research study was based upon a national survey in March 1992, conducted to assess the economic literacy of the U.S. public. The survey data were used to measure the economic knowledge of the public, to identify factors that affect economic knowledge, and to evaluate the influence of economic knowledge on public opinion about current economic issues. The survey data were collected by The Gallup Organization via telephone interviews from a national random sample of 1,005 adults aged 18 years or older. The survey instrument, developed by a national committee of 10 economists drawn from education, business, and labor, contained 46 questions that tested economic knowledge, sought opinions on economics issues, and gathered information on background characteristics, such as education and income of respondents. The public showed significant deficiencies in their knowledge and awareness of basic economics in such areas as unemployment, inflation, and economic growth. All survey respondents had strong opinions about economic issues despite having limited economic knowledge. Economic illiteracy has the potential to misshape public opinion on economic issues and lead to policies that have negative or perverse effects on the economy and on economic institutions."

This is why we cannot have a voting populace using, universally, inductive reasoning.

This is how large the worldwide banking systems debt problem is:

Yes, that says 700 trillion.  And yes, that is over a year old.

Is it any wonder why things are the way they are?

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
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You heard about this one, right?...


Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

Self-identified liberals and Democrats do badly on questions of basic economics.

Who is better informed about the policy choices facing the country—liberals, conservatives or libertarians? According to a Zogby International survey that I write about in the May issue of Econ Journal Watch, the answer is unequivocal: The left flunks Econ 101.

Zogby researcher Zeljka Buturovic and I considered the 4,835 respondents' (all American adults) answers to eight survey questions about basic economics. We also asked the respondents about their political leanings: progressive/very liberal; liberal; moderate; conservative; very conservative; and libertarian.

Rather than focusing on whether respondents answered a question correctly, we instead looked at whether they answered incorrectly. A response was counted as incorrect only if it was flatly unenlightened. [...]


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I'm having a little bit of trouble finding the current open contract obligations at a global level.  This was the best I could do.

"Notional amounts outstanding provide useful information on the structure of the OTC derivatives market but should not be interpreted as a measure of the riskiness of these positions. Gross market values, which represent the cost of replacing all open contracts at the prevailing market prices, have increased by 74% since 2004, to $11 trillion at the end of June 2007. While growth has accelerated in all major risk categories during the last three years, the highest rate of increase was reported in the credit segment. Positions in credit derivatives stood at $51 trillion at end-June 2007, compared to under $5 trillion in the 2004 survey. CDSs are by far the dominant instrument in this category, accounting for 88% of positions in credit derivatives." ( - Five years ago.

"The Fed does not make predictions. It makes forecasts..." - Mustang19
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