Friday, February 18, 2011

The role of intellectuals in society

Bryan Caplan
has an interesting article about research conducted by Hans Noel. Definitely worth a read:

He assembled a big data set of all the written issue positions staked out by major pundits in major outlets at twenty-year intervals, then did factor analysis.
The results:

The empirics by themselves are impressive, but he also shows that pundits' period of chaos and realignment precedes politicians' by about a decade. While it's not decisive proof, it's consistent with a story where intellectuals change their minds first, and activists, the rank-and-file, and politicians gradually get into line.
HT: MarignalRevolution

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