Free Societies

The role of influencers on economic issues in US, Latin America, and Spain


A recent study by Carlos Newland, Juan Carlos Rosiello, and Roberto Salinas León, on the role of influencers in economic matters in the United States, Latin America, and Spain, was published by the distinguished Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, which can be found here.

This essay constitutes part of a broader effort that Atlas Network began in 2020, with Dr. Carlos Newland, to measure degrees of “economic mentality” across different countries, which will be published later this year. It is an attempt to delve into the complex field of “ideas intelligence” and help our network partners diagnose the impact of social media influencers utilizing Twitter in the policy ideas environment.

One seemingly paradoxical conclusion of this study is that countries characterized by a free market mindset tend to be dominated by influencers with strong pro-state and anti-market points of view—especially in the United States, where Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz command greater social media influence in economic matters. The opposite also seems to be true: countries with much greater statist dominance in their current politics (such as Argentina, Mexico, or Spain) have seen a much greater presence of pro-market and pro-freedom voices in social media influence.

In sum, on a country-by-country basis, there appears to be “an inverse relationship between the economic position of the main influencers on Twitter, and the economic mentality that dominates the respective countries at this time.”

The study has been the subject of much debate and constructive criticism, including an enlightening comment by Atlas Network friend and ally, the distinguished Dr. Carlos Rodriguez Braun in Spain, which can be found here.