Are speculators driving up oil prices? Should we raise energy prices to slow global warming? The present study takes a small number of such questions and compares the views of economic experts with those of the public. This comparison uses a panel of 2000+ respondents from YouGov with the views of the panel of experts from the IGM at the Chicago Booth School. We found that most of the US population is at best modestly informed about major economic questions and policies. The low level of knowledge is generally associated with the intrusion of ideological, political, and religious views that challenge or deny the current economic consensus. The intruding factors are highly heterogeneous and are much more diverse than the narrowness of public political discourse would suggest. Many of these findings have been established for scientific subjects, but they appear to be equally important for economic views.
The present study analyzes the impact of carbon pricing along with other policies on the value of fossil fuel resources, CO2 emissions, and economic welfare. It employs a model based on the Hotelling analysis of resource values and calibrates this approach to data on fossil resources, costs, demands, and CO2 emissions. Total fossil-fuel resource rents are estimated to be $17 trillion (2021 US$) without carbon pricing. Oil and gas rents are unchanged for low carbon taxes but would decline by 40% with a $100/tCO2 price. The losses in producer values would be only about 10% of the carbon tax revenues. The study also shows that other policies – such as ones involving ethical investing or subsidies for renewable energy – are very inefficient and poor substitutes for carbon pricing.
The Yale Labor Survey (YLS) uses online panels to estimate the state of the US labor market in real time. It is designed to parallel the US government’s monthly labor force survey and present weekly information rapidly and inexpensively. Using an experimental design, the YLS estimates that the US unemployment rate peaked in late April and improved substantially by mid-June. The YLS unemployment rate in mid-June is estimated to be 15%, down about 2 percentage points from mid-May.