Persuasion, slack, and traps: how can economists change the world?
- Bryan Caplan
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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(2), 169–217. CrossRef
- Caplan, B. (2003). The idea trap: the political economy of growth divergence. European Journal of Political Economy, 19(2), 183–203. CrossRef
- Caplan, B. (2007). The myth of the rational voter: why democracies choose bad policies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Caplan, B. (2009). Irrational principals. Review of Austrian Economics, 22(2), 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(3), 288–294. CrossRef
- Wittman, D. (1995). The myth of democratic failure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- 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
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- 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