Bryan's Cover Story in Reason
By Arnold Kling
is here. His topic is the four types of bias that non-economists hold.
Economists have a love-hate relationship with systematic bias. As theorists, they deny its existence. But when they teach, address the public, or wonder what is wrong with the world, they dip into their own private stash of the stuff. On some level, economists not only recognize that systematically biased beliefs exist; they think they have discovered virulent strains in their own backyard.
You can hardly teach economics without bumping into these biases. Students of economics are not blank slates for their teachers to write on. They arrive with strong prejudices. They underestimate the benefits of markets. They underestimate the benefits of dealing with foreigners. They underestimate the benefits of conserving labor. They underestimate the performance of the economy. And in doing all that underestimating, they overestimate both the need for the government to solve these purported problems and the likely efficacy of its solutions.