SOURCE: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

May 09, 2011 08:00 ET

Leading Economics Bloggers See Potential for Employment Growth Despite Ongoing Economic Uncertainty

Kauffman Foundation's Second-Quarter Survey Respondents Support Extending Debt Limit, Reducing Regulatory Fees on New Firm Formation

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwire - May 9, 2011) - Pessimism about the U.S. economy is making a comeback among the country's top economics bloggers after a slightly sunnier outlook earlier this year. According to the second quarter Kauffman Economic Outlook survey released today, 85 percent of respondents view current economic conditions as "mixed" or "facing recession," an increase of 8 percent from first quarter. However, 70 percent see hope for one key factor during the next three years: employment growth.

"Recent economic data confirm what economics bloggers have been saying for months: These are uncertain times with stagnant growth and unyielding unemployment levels," said Tim Kane, the survey's director and a senior scholar at the Kauffman Foundation. "With the unemployment rate jumping to 9 percent and half a million new jobless claims, the verdict is in. If a double-dip recession is to be avoided, it might be time to listen to some of the policies the bloggers have been suggesting as well."

"Uncertain" remained the top adjective used to describe the U.S. economy by economics bloggers, and skepticism about government statistics remained the rule: 32 percent believe the country is doing "worse" than official statistics show, an increase from last quarter perhaps attributable to weak employment data.

In light of continued market fallout from the housing and credit crises, respondents were asked to weigh in on whether the easing of U.S. monetary policy in the mid-2000s affected the housing and credit boom. A majority (79 percent) believed Fed policy was either "important" or "somewhat important," while only 14 percent believed it was the main cause of the bubble, suggesting that the central policy errors lay elsewhere.

Economics bloggers also were asked to evaluate whether, on the balance, the U.S. central bank has done more harm than good, with 44 percent of respondents believing it has had a net positive effect on the economy.

Other research highlights include:

  • The respondents continue their strong belief that the government is too involved in the U.S. economy, with 84 percent in favor of reducing regulatory burdens and fees on new firm formation.

  • Projecting three years ahead, economics bloggers expect global output, inflation and interest rates to rise faster than anything else. Opinion remains split about expectations of higher poverty and inequality levels.

  • When asked to evaluate other policy proposals, 86 percent also favored trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, and 81 percent supported extending the debt limit.

  • On a lighter note, when asked "how many econobloggers does it take to change a lightbulb," a majority revealed their entrepreneurial determination to change it themselves (with an additional 13 percent suggesting a startup company be formed to change lightbulbs around the world).

For this Kauffman Economic Outlook: A Quarterly Survey of Leading Economics Bloggers, the Kauffman Foundation sent invitations to more than 200 leading economics bloggers as identified in the Palgrave's econolog.net December 2010 rankings. The Foundation surveys the bloggers each quarter about their views of the economy, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Eight core questions and four topical questions were designed in coordination with a distinguished board of advisors, which includes:

Robert X. Cringely - I, Cringely
Laurie Harting - Palgrave's EconLog
Paul Kedrosky - Infectious Greed
Lynne Kiesling - Knowledge Problem
Donald Marron - DMarron.com
Mark Perry - Carpe Diem
Wade Roush - Xconomy.com
Allison Schrager - Free Exchange
Nick Schulz - Enterprise Blog
Yves Smith - Naked Capitalism
Alex Tabarrok - Marginal Revolution
Mark Thoma - Economist's View

About the Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. In addition, the Foundation focuses on initiatives in the Kansas City region to advance students' math and science skills, and improve the educational achievement of urban students, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, a college preparatory charter school for middle and high school students set to open in 2011. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo. and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation on www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

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