Conveying disagreement

It can be difficult to communicate clearly when not all economists agree

There are many types of uncertainty that economists have to deal with. Uncertainty in measurement of facts and figures (due to sampling or measurement error) - see Concepts: Facts and Figures. Uncertainty about an outcome or effect due to unknown states of the world. Uncertainty due to our lack of knowledge about behaviours or model assumptions.

Many economic variables, outcomes or effects will differ in different states of the world. See the way the Bank of England present CPI inflation projections (Bank of England Prospects for inflation).

The Bank of England also conveys this in the way it graphs GDP projections (Bank of England Prospects for inflation), which also convey uncertainty due to measurement.

The IFS shows uncertainty in individuals' responses to an increase in marginal income tax rates in a very straightforward way in Figure 3 of their analysis of the Labour Party Manifesto in the 2017 election.

Communicating Uncertainty in Policy Analysis

False certainty will lead to bad policy. If policy makers understand the nature of certainty they can make better policy.

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Dismal ignorance of the “dismal science”—a response to Larry Elliot

Orazio AttanasioOriana BandieraRichard BlundellStephen MachinRachel Griffith and Imran Rasul respond to a column in the Guardian column that  reproduced some classic misconceptions about what economists actually do.

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Useful Links

Rachel Griffith

What is economics?

Rachel Griffith's blog on the British Academy website

Read the blog
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