As countries across Europe and around the world grapple with high living costs and impending recession, voters are concerned about the economy and how their elected representatives will fix it.
For many, it’s tempting to call on politicians to cede some of their power to economic experts. Politicians might be more able to make difficult or unpopular (but necessary) decisions if they could argue they were following expert advice, as they did during the pandemic.
But our new research reveals what politicians, when asked in private, really think about economists. Our team at UCL conducted nearly 100 in-depth interviews with economic ministers, opposition spokespeople and economic committee members. They were from five countries – France, Germany, Denmark, the UK and US – and across the party spectrum from the right-wing Alternative fur Deutschland to the French Communist party.
Across the board, politicians reported declining respect for economists since the 2008 financial crisis. And they were concerned that any increased reliance on such experts would alienate voters.