Lying to Ourselves (Ep. 97)
Our latest Freakonomics Radio on Marketplace podcast is called “Lying to Ourselves.” (You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript here.)
The episode was inspired by a recent poll I saw on Yahoo! Finance:
Does anyone believe for a minute that this many people would actually leave the U.S. if taxes (whatever that means, exactly) were to rise to 40 percent or even 70 percent?
Yes, there is a Laffer Curve out there, somewhere. But how much are we to believe surveys like this one? Remember all those people who said they’d move to Canada if George W. Bush were re-elected?
The fact is that we’ve come to rely on polls and surveys to tell us how people will behave in the future. Too bad they are almost completely unreliable!
In this episode, you’ll hear from Steve Levitt, who tells us how he’d respond to a big tax hike; Joel Weichsel from the American Automobile Association, which constantly polls people about how their driving behavior will change based on gas prices; and FiveThirtyEight.com‘s Nate Silver (author of the recent The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t), talking about the reliability (or not) of election polls.