George Mason University professor Daniel Klein and Zogby Researcher Zeljka Buturovic polled 4,835 adults on basic economic knowledge. The correlation between political ideology and whether the questions were answered correctly was pretty striking:
The other questions were:
1) Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services (unenlightened answer: disagree).
2) Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago (unenlightened answer: disagree).
3) Rent control leads to housing shortages (unenlightened answer: disagree).
4) A company with the largest market share is a monopoly (unenlightened answer: agree).
5) Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited (unenlightened answer: agree).
6) Free trade leads to unemployment (unenlightened answer: agree).
7) Minimum wage laws raise unemployment (unenlightened answer: disagree).
[Note: The eighth question was “Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable.” (unenlightened answer: disagree)]
How did the six ideological groups do overall? Here they are, best to worst, with an average number of incorrect responses from 0 to 8: Very conservative, 1.30; Libertarian, 1.38; Conservative, 1.67; Moderate, 3.67; Liberal, 4.69; Progressive/very liberal, 5.26.
Americans in the first three categories do reasonably well. But the left has trouble squaring economic thinking with their political psychology, morals and aesthetics.