What happens if rents are artificially lowered? The law of supply and demand says that demand goes up and supply goes down. In other words, there will be a shortage. According to the table above, only 14 % of "very conservatives" or 16% of libertarians answered the rent control question incorrectly. However, an amazing 71% of liberals and 79% of progressives answered this question incorrectly. In none of the eight questions did the liberals/progressives do better than conservatives/libertarians.
If Democratic policies, such as Obamacare and cap-and-trade, seem economically irrational, it is likely, according to this study, a result of the proponents of those policies being economic illiterates. The left really does not understand or does not want to understand the law of supply and demand.
In my conversations with liberals, the root of the problem seems to be a refusal to consider more than one side. In the rent control issue, for example, a liberal's sympathy is with the renter and he will refuse to consider that landlords and people who might consider becoming landlords also have rights and options. Many liberals would seem to be intellectually capable of considering how all sides would respond to a policy if they wanted to but they don't because they don't want to.
Hat tip: Todd Zywicki/Volockh.
UPDATE: Ilya Somin suggests, without providing any actual evidence, that there might be other questions that conservatives might answer poorly.
UPDATE: Liberal blogger Mathew Yglesias weighs in:
As best I can tell, his argument is that because many rank-and-file progressives have mistaken ideas about economics, it’s okay for conservatives to have wrong ideas about climate science.This might provide some consolation for the left except that the conservative position on global warming is in agreement with real scientists while the left's is governed by unsavory politicians (Gore), disreputable bureaucrats (UN), clowns (Hansen), and con men (Jones, Mann).
Mr. Yglesias continues:
The good news about progressives is that actual policymaking in, for example, the Obama administration is not based on elementary errors of economic policy.which might be true except for porkulus, bail-outs, cap-and-tax, and Obamacare, etc.
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