Chapter 16: Economic literacy and policy perceptions during the financial crisis
In the chapter a national survey administered in the spring of 2010 is used to evaluate the relationship between economic literacy and personal opinions regarding the recent financial crisis and ensuing recession. The survey results showed a discrepancy between perceived and revealed economic understanding for American adults. While 55 percent of survey respondents rated their understanding of economics as either good or excellent, on average the sample scored only 47 percent correct on a short quiz covering basic economic concepts. This divergent relationship was found to persist across all levels of obtained economic education. Survey respondents were asked to identify those agents they held responsible for instigating the financial crisis as well as possible policy solutions to the resulting Great Recession. A probit model is used to analyse the factors influencing the holding of reported opinions. The results indicate that those with formal economic education were more likely to blame the banking and mortgage industries for the crisis and favored a reduced role of government in the economy as a solution to the recession.
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