Friday, October 3, 2008

Economists rate the US Presidential candidates

The Economist has published the outcomes of a survey of 142 US academic economists assessing the economic policies of John McCain and Barack Obama. Completed prior to the current financial meltdown, the survey shows a clear preference for Obama's economic program.

While there is some sampling bias as more respondents self-identified as Democrats than as Republicans, there is also a strong sense that McCain is most likely to pursue the discredited policies of the Bush years.

There is an apparent contradiction between most economists’ support for free trade, low taxes and less intervention in the market and the low marks many give to Mr McCain, who is generally more supportive of those things than Mr Obama. It probably reflects a perception that the Republican Party under George Bush has subverted many of those ideals for ideology and political gain. Indeed, the majority of respondents rate Mr Bush’s economic record as very bad, and Republican respondents are only slightly less critical.

“John McCain has professed disdain for ‘so-called economists’, and for some the feeling has become mutual,” says Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management. “Obama’s team is mainstream and non-ideological but extremely talented.”

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