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Smacked in the face by the economy

  • Research shows that the public view ‘the economy’ as a threat looming over them 
  • The roles of policymakers and the targets they are aiming for are badly understood

For economists, the Autumn Statement and Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts were a source of endless fascination (guilty as charged: I wrote two articles on the subject last week). Yet it seems that most of the public doesn’t feel the same enthusiasm for analysing debt as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP).

In 2020, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) produced a paper on the public understanding of economics and economic statistics. It was an eye-opener: less than half of the public could correctly identify the definition of GDP even when given a list of options. It was commonly confused with the value of exports (due to its similarity to the ‘GBP’ currency code) and even data protection (thanks to GDPR). As…

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