Does the Public Trust Scientists?

Here is Stanford’s Jon Krosnick  giving a very nice talk about the U.S. public’s view on climate change.  Krosnick responds to the idea that “Climate-gate” and media saturation and the economic malaise have somehow changed public opinion, and convincingly argues that they have not.  Indeed, Krosnick shows that the public generally trusts scientists, believes in global climate change, believes in human activities’ impact on the changing climate, and generally believes the scientific community knows its science.

Take a look starting at 23:30, though.   It turns out that when scientists start talking about policy, all you-know-what breaks loose.  The public basically doesn’t believe that scientists know what they are talking about when they start talking about policy.  It gets worse, though — when scientists talk policy, respondents are less confident that the scientists know their science! The final kicker is that it dampens support for government action on climate change.

Check it out for a marvelous cautionary tale.

I wonder if this carries over to economics and economic policy?