Consensus and ideology in expert communities






Join us as we explore the intricate intersection of professional consensus and political ideology in the field of economics, drawing from the latest research by Tod Van Gunten at the University of Edinburgh. More info below



Professional consensus in expert communities is a topic of scholarly, public and political significance; for example, professional consensus among climate scientists on the anthropogenic origins of climate change is a major factor in climate policy.  In the case of economics, researchers and observers make claims about professional consensus on particular policy issues and about the level of consensus in the discipline as a whole.  At the same time, many observers perceive economics as a politicized discipline in which political ideologies about the “free market” and state intervention shape individual opinions.  This presentation will summarize several studies regarding professional consensus and political ideology in the economic profession that make use of a long tradition of survey research on members of the American Economic Association.  Previous research on the beliefs of professional economists focused on the level of consensus, while research on ideological structuring of economists’ beliefs is relatively new.  This presentation shows that there is a persistent ideological dimension to economists’ belief systems, which is relatively constant over time, at least until recently.  Economists’ position on the free market-state intervention dimension shapes their level of professional certainty and choice of collaborators.  Further analyses assess the relative contributions of ideology and consensus to the overall structuring of belief systems using entropic measures of belief system constraint.


Tod Van Gunten is Lecturer in Economic Sociology in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh.  He is a comparative economic and political sociologists with research interests in social networks, housing and financial markets, political elites and the public role of the economics profession.  Recent publications include “Are economists overconfident? Ideology and uncertainty in expert opinion” (British Journal of Sociology, 2023)


This event will take place on Wednesday 15 November, 1-2 pm, in the SPS Chrystal Macmillan Conf Room 2.15.

If you prefer to attend virtually, please connect with Iñaki {} to arrange for your online participation.


Nov 15 2023


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Conf Room 2.15
Chrystal Macmillan Building

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