Friday, April 29, 2011

you say "recession" i say tomato

this type of poll shows up whenever the economy starts to grow after a recession. it all comes down to different views on what the word "recession" means. economist define a recession to mean when the economy, as measured by the GDP, shrinks instead of grows. the public at large takes the word "recession" to mean a bad economy.

so there is no contradiction between economists saying that the u.s. is no longer in a recession and the u.s. public telling posters that they think it still is in one. technically, the public is wrong. whether the country is in a recession is a factual issue, not something that depends on a public opinion. but because the media regularly uses the word "recession" as a shorthand for "bad economy" (as opposed to just one measure of whether the economy is bad), it's not surprising that the public would come away with that impression.