What Happens When People Hear Both Sides of the Debate?

Posted on Thu 02/23/2012 by


By Nicolas Loris ~

On the morning of Tuesday, February 21, 2012, a debate took place at the World Bank, and the outcome was stunning.

Heritage’s David Kreutzer and Yale University economics professor Robert Mendelsohn debated Marianne Fay of the World Bank and Paul Ekins of the University College London. The proposition was “Green Development is necessary, affordable, and urgent.” The audience was the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Network, whose initial preferences were no surprise. Polled before the debate, over two-thirds of the audience supported the proposition, and most of the others chose “undecided.”

In the formal debate, Fay and Ekins argued for the proposition while Kreutzer and Mendelsohn argued against. The poll following the debate was a shocker—less than half of the audience agreed with the proposition. This result was not caused by a handful of vote switchers—adding those watching from satellite locations at the bank and remote locations around the world to the 300 in the auditorium, the total audience was estimated to be at least 1,200.

So when presented with evidence from both sides, fewer than half of the members of the Sustainable Development Network believed that their mission is necessary, affordable, and urgent. One can only imagine what the results would be with a less biased audience.

Nicolas Loris is a Policy Analyst at The Heritage Foundation . http://www.heritage.org/  Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies. Loris researches and writes about energy, environment and regulation issues such as the economic impacts of climate change legislation, a free market approach to nuclear energy and the effects of environmental policy on energy prices and the economy.

Read more informative articles at Heritage – The Foundry . http://blog.heritage.org/