Some of the results in this new article by Zeljka Buturovic and Dan Klein in Econ Journal Watch (a peer-reviewed journal of economics) are startling:
- 67% of self-described Progressives believe that restrictions on housing development (i.e., regulations that reduce the supply of housing) do not make housing less affordable.
- 51% believe that mandatory licensing of professionals (i.e., reducing the supply of professionals) doesn’t increase the cost of professional services.
- Perhaps most amazing, 79% of self-described Progressive believe that rent control (i.e., price controls) does not lead to housing shortages.
Note that the questions here are not whether the benefits of these policies might outweigh the costs, but the basic economic effects of these policies.
Those identifying as “libertarian” and “very conservative” were the most knowledgeable about basic economics. Those identifying as “Progressive” and “Liberal” were the worst.
It would be hard to find a set of propositions that would meet with such a degree of consensus among economists to rival these propositions–which boils down to supply restrictions raise prices and price controls create shortages. These are issues on which economic theory is exceedingly clear, well-confirmed over decades of empirical support, and with a degree of unarguable consensus among trained scholars in the field. Apparently the existence of a “consensus” among trained scholars on certain policy issues is less important on some issues than others.