Insights… economists reveal themselves to be as fallible as the rest of us | Torsten Bell

They portray themselves as impartial and objective but a survey exposed their biases, unconscious or otherwise

Many economists put a lot of weight on the idea that their profession is unbiased and non-ideological. Over time, the discipline has focused on applying complicated maths to data, as part of a “positivist” movement seeking to claim economics as a “real science” where economists show what they have found, not what they think.

Such self-perception coexisted with the critique of less mainstream economists that the profession has an ideological bias, generally rightwing. Markets work, humans are self-interested, the state messes things up, and so forth. The latest salvo from proponents of the latter view, including Ha-Joon Chang, Cambridge University’s prominent opponent of mainstream economics, comes via creative new research.

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