It was via Tim Worstall that I first learned of the concept of what economists call Revealed Preferences:
Revealed preference theory … is a method of analyzing choices made by individuals, mostly used for comparing the influence of policies on consumer behavior. These models assume that the preferences of consumers can be revealed by their purchasing habits.
Things get especially interesting when revealed consumer behaviour differs from what they have previously said. In other words, don’t listen to what people say but instead watch what they actually do. It is fun to spot such examples in the wild, as Adam has done over at Pushing Rubber Downhill:
It turns out, shock horror, that while people might be very outwardly positive and vocal about bringing those “poor refugees” to Australia, when it comes to sending their own kids to school with them it seems that they’re not quite as keen.
The local council, City of Yarra, says the district has been a proud “Refugee Welcome Zone since 2002”. Yet in Fitzroy, Carlton and surrounding suburbs, progressive, middle-class families have been accused of shunning public schools with high refugee populations.
“They are fleeing!” African community leader and former refugee Abeselom Nega says of white, inner-city families who apparently are rejecting diverse schools. This year, in a Melbourne newspaper, Nega accused families who avoided inner-Melbourne schools with large African-Australian student cohorts of racism.
The yawning chasm that stands between middle-class virtue signalling and how they actually behave makes the Grand Canyon look like a drainage ditch.