Friday, January 16, 2015

Inappropriate Macroeconomic Perceptions

A poll shows that 64% of respondents say the U.S. is still in recession.

I am writing this in January 2015: our most recent GDP data is for 2014 III, and the recession ended 21 quarters ago in 2009 III.

I can't document this, but I've seen surveys like this over the last few decades, so it's not unusual.

Why are peoples' perceptions so divorced from reality? Here's some thoughts.

  • Maybe people don't know what a recession is?
  • Maybe people are inclined towards pessimism?
  • It is a FOXNews poll. Perhaps the respondents are biased against Obama? (Even so, I don't think that explains the existence of results like this going back for many years).
  • Perhaps their definition of a recession involves knowledge of anyone in their extended network who has been hurt by the economy?
  • Perhaps our threshold for feeling comfortable is higher than an economy is generally capable of achieving?

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