Public understanding of the economy and paradigm shifts

Long before the Covid 19 pan­dem­ic, there were many crit­i­cal dis­cus­sions about fun­da­men­tal issues of eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy, espe­cial­ly con­cern­ing the role of the state. The exten­sive gov­ern­ment action in response to the pan­dem­ic has fur­ther advanced debates about how we should think about and shape our economies in the future. A win­dow of oppor­tu­ni­ty for a par­a­digm shift has opened and high-qual­i­ty work is under­way to devel­op bet­ter mod­els to con­cep­tu­alise eco­nom­ic struc­tures and processes.


While great work is being con­duct­ed in this area, com­par­a­tive­ly lit­tle has been done to exam­ine how the pub­lic per­ceives and under­stands the econ­o­my and the changes tak­ing place around it. What we do know, how­ev­er, sug­gests that there is a large gap between advances in sci­ence and pol­i­cy on the one hand and pub­lic per­cep­tion on the oth­er. Exist­ing stud­ies have shown that peo­ple often have lit­tle fac­tu­al knowl­edge of basic eco­nom­ic con­cepts or mis­per­ceive the dis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth among dif­fer­ent pop­u­la­tion groups as well as gov­ern­ment redistribution.


With our project part­ner, the Forum New Econ­o­my, this project there­fore aims to com­pre­hen­sive­ly exam­ine the pub­lic under­stand­ing of eco­nom­ic struc­tures and process­es through expert inter­views and small group inter­views with the pop­u­la­tion in Ger­many. In this way, new insights are to be gained into how the pop­u­la­tion in Ger­many thinks about eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy issues and which par­a­digms they adhere to.