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03 November 2019

Financial Times: Economists among ‘least trusted professionals’ in UK

British people are keen to have a better understanding of economic issues, but Leave voters increasingly distrust economists to provide honest answers, according to a large new survey of public attitudes.


With trade, Brexit, pay and public finances likely to be central issues in the coming general election, the survey of 1,641 adults by YouGov for Bristol university shows that the criticism of economic experts by Michael Gove in the 2016 EU referendum has had a persistent effect on attitudes.

More than twice the number of Leave voters said they did not trust the opinion of economists on issues relating to the national economy, compared with Remain voters.

And almost twice the proportion of Leave voters said they had become more sceptical about professional economic opinion since the referendum than Remain voters.

When the survey, which was shared with the Financial Times, attempted to probe the reasons behind the lack of trust, Remain voters overwhelmingly thought economists based their comments on verifiable data and analysis while almost 40 per cent of Leave voters thought economists’ views were mainly political opinions or driven by political affiliation. [...]

But the responses revealed a lack of confidence in discussing economics issues and 40 per cent of those surveyed said it had become more difficult to understand economics relating to making informed decisions for voting in elections and referendums, with only 14 per cent saying it had become easier.[...]

Full article on Financial Times (subscription required)

© Financial Times

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