What Bad Economists Always Miss

With high gas prices, rising inflation, and far-reaching ripple effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, economists around the world have been busy trying to sort out what’s next. They’re on the news, on social media, and in the newspapers of record all day, every day—and it can be hard to know who to believe. 

As you sift through economists’ analysis and policy recommendations, here’s something to watch: Who do they say the policy will affect? And when?

In name, at least, public policy benefits the general public. But that’s not always how it works out. You can tell a lot about an economist by which segment of society they choose to focus on, and whether or not they talk about the long-term effects of a given policy, instead of just immediate results. Bad economists tend to focus solely on direct and short-term effects, where good economists look for indirect effects that might play out on secondary populations over time.

It’s a great time to brush up on the basics. Educate yourself with our Instaread on Economics in One Lesson

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