Survey of Public Attitudes on Economic Policy (June 2018)

On the occasion of this year’s Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society (June 19-20) the Israel Democracy Institute published a special survey to assess public opinion on Israel’s economic future. The purpose of the survey is to examine the public's views regarding the future of the economy and levels of satisfaction with the government’s functioning in a variety of areas. It also examines public opinion about key players in the Israeli economy and their influence in the economic arena.

Highlights of the Survey Findings

Israel’s economy in 2028 – Approximately 35% of the public thinks that Israel’s economy will improve in 10 years’ time, while 27% think that the economy will decline. 28% think the situation will stay the same. 42% of the men are optimistic about the country’s economic future in comparison to 29% of the women.

Using reserve funds - 27% think that government funds held in reserve should be used to reduce taxes, and 24% think they should be invested in education.

Public opinion on the government’s functioning – More than half the public thinks that the government is not doing enough to narrow socio-economic gaps and help weak populations; almost half think that the government does very little to lighten the regulatory bureaucracy; and the majority does not think that the government is doing a good job of training workers for the future labor market. On the other hand, the majority of the public thinks that the government collects taxes efficiently, and over 30% gave a high score on the government’s contribution to economic growth.

Who contributes to economic growth – In the public’s view, the two politicians who make the biggest contribution to the Israeli economy are Minister of Finance Kahlon (50%) and Prime Minister Netanyahu (44%). As for the regulators’ contribution – approximately one third of the public were unable to assess their contribution. Nevertheless, among the regulators, Dr. Karnit Flug, Governor of the Bank of Israel, received the highest rate of approval (37%).

Is the government promoting Israel’s chances of being a global technology leader? – Only 33% of the public thinks that the government contributes to securing Israel’s future as a global technology leader.

Yohanan Plesner, President of the Israel Democracy Institute, stated that: “the Survey of Public Attitudes on Economic Policy reflects the Israeli public's consensus on the government’s mismanagement in reducing the ever-widening socio-economic gaps. The two economies that have developed in recent years embody Israel’s economic polarization. On the one hand, Israel’s "start-up nation" economy is a model of innovation and success. On the other hand, the rest of the industries in the Israeli economy lag behind most developed countries. High-tech alone cannot spearhead Israel’s economy. If we do not improve the quality of our human capital – which will effectively lead to increased productivity and a narrowing of the wage gaps between population groups in the geographical and social periphery – the standard of living will deteriorate. The government must overcome its inability to plan long term, reduce regulation, and restore confidence between the citizens of the State and its governmental bodies."