Persuasion, slack, and traps: how can economists change the world?
- Bryan Caplan
- … show all 1 hide
Contrary to my critics, voter irrationality does not imply that economists cannot mitigate political failure. With rational voters, reform-minded economists have few viable tactics; with irrational voters reformers have more options. Rational voters can be swayed only by facts and logic; irrational voters could respond to better rhetoric. Rational voters strategically punish those who ignore their policy preferences; irrational voters use less effective disciplinary strategies that create political slack. Even with irrational voters, efficiency-enhancing reform is hard. With rational voters, however, democracy’s failure to adopt a reform is strong evidence that the reform does not enhance efficiency.
- Becker, G. (1968) Crime and punishment: an economic approach. Journal of Political Economy 76: pp. 169-217 CrossRef
- Caplan, B. (2003) The idea trap: the political economy of growth divergence. European Journal of Political Economy 19: pp. 183-203 CrossRef
- Caplan, B. (2007) The myth of the rational voter: why democracies choose bad policies. Princeton University Press, Princeton
- Caplan, B. (2009) Irrational principals. Review of Austrian Economics 22: pp. 159-167 CrossRef
- Levy, D. (2008) Public choice for sheeple: a review of The Myth of the Rational Voter: why democracies choose bad policies. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 69: pp. 288-294 CrossRef
- Wittman, D. (1995) The myth of democratic failure. University of Chicago Press, Chicago
- Persuasion, slack, and traps: how can economists change the world?
Volume 142, Issue 1-2 , pp 1-8
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
- Additional Links
- Voter irrationality
- Political failure
- Economic reform
- Industry Sectors
- Bryan Caplan (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Economics, Center for Study of Public Choice, and Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, 22030, USA