The myth of the rational voter: why democracies choose bad policies / Bryan Caplan. p. cm. Classical Public Choice and the Failure of Rational Ignorance. Review of Bryan Caplan’s The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies. Francesco Caselli1. December 1London School of. The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies. By Bryan Caplan. May 29, In theory, democracy is a bulwark against socially.

Author: Mat Taugore
Country: Timor Leste
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Technology
Published (Last): 7 August 2011
Pages: 315
PDF File Size: 3.53 Mb
ePub File Size: 15.44 Mb
ISBN: 239-4-96511-864-4
Downloads: 9420
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Arashijind

OK, so imagine things keep on like votfr and we become a world of almost guaranteed comfort e. Voting to lower one’s standard of living seems irrational.

However, psychological benefits and social benefits are not the same thing: Although, with this last example he gives, it could easily be argued that men ARE voting their pocketbooks; an abortion costs a lot less than 18 years of child support. His professional work has been bruan to the philosophies of libertarianism and free-market capitalism and anarchism.

Yet the work is also a challenge to conventional public otwhere voters are seen as rationally ignorant. No trivia or quizzes yet. Archived from the original PDF on Jul 07, Skylar Burris rated it liked it Shelves: Return to Book Page. He has criticized the assumptions of rational voters that form the basis of public choice theory, but generally agrees with their conclusions based on his own model of “rational irrationality.

There was another writer in the late s and early s named Alexander Fraser Tytler. The SAEE asked 1, random members of the American public and people with PhDs in economics the same questions concerning the economy.

To take one example: The degree of benefit is rarely equalized, but it is always positive for both parties.

The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies

He asserts that we should instead move to a “market-based” government, without ever explaining what that is, how it would function, nor how it would overcome the inherent problems of irrationality. Thus, by voting for greater spending, for instance, a person can feel good about his or her generosity, without directly or immediately paying the price, even if such policies tye hurt the economy in the end.


Sep 07, Stone rated it liked it Shelves: Requiring my concentration throughout, this book packs a big payoff in every section. Feb 09, Anton Iokov rated it it was amazing Shelves: After all, what’s the incentive? The book is sometimes repetitious but not in a catastrophical way. Votre I have a communitarian belief that a good polity resembles a “family”, and that gross inequality upsets that belief.

Luckily entertainment has become developed enough that it is actively searching for thirsty consumers.

The Myth of the Rational Voter – Wikipedia

With the upcoming presidential election season drawing nearer, this thought-provoking book is sure to spark a long-overdue reappraisal of our elective system. Then what’s the matter with anything beneficial being unpopular?

On the contrary, there is a disincentive to becoming informed: Once elected, MPs can really do whatever they want in congress or parliament. My political ideology may lead me to a 1 that is silly, but it may also be a source of a 2 that is no less sound than competing 2 s.

The public, already biased, will make all the necessary qualifications itself. I didn’t take ANY economics in any of my educational travelings. In such a world, policy decisions become or at least seem to become less and tue important, because the standard of living is so high than the material consequences of bad policy decisions are no longer felt or felt to a lesser degree than they currently are.

But since it’s the voted majority who wield most of the power Apr 18, Otto Lehto rated it liked it.

Now that does not mean that Caplan or I prefer monarchy, dictatorship, communism, or fascism. It was first observed by Lepper et al. When a person puts on his voting hat, he does not have to give up practical efficacy in exchange for self-image because he has no practical efficacy to give up in the first place.

Libertarian PapersVol. May 03, Sergey Steblyov rated it really liked it. Furthermore, there are certain psychological benefits e.

Caplan’s argument, then, may not be as systemically toxic as he says, but it is apparent that most elections do seem to be on the same level as post-game interviews with professional athletes in terms of honesty and explaining complicated decisions – but you just don’t wanna get into that with your average voter.


People are much better of now than they were before in almost every way. Because people are in the best position possible to choose what’s best for themselves. Even the economists for liberal administrations generally advised against liberal fiscal policies, but politicians have incentives to do what is politically popular for liberals, this might mean immense spending on healthcare, for conservatives, limiting immigrationnot necessarily what is economically efficient.

Across all income and education and political affiliations, people vote for policies that they think will make the country better, even when it might not be in their own best interest. They refuse to retrace their logic and seriously ask themselves if what they believe is true. The famous miracle of aggregation that is supposed to cancel out random errors of judgment and thus save democracy from stupid decisions of uninformed majority by allowing for the disproportionate influence of the minority of the well-informed falls on its face once we realize that general populace has systematic rather than random biases.

The basic assertion put forth by Caplan is that voters are not just ignorant but irrational. This leads into the second retort: If everyone who voted for such a policies had to take a steep pay cut to offset the negative economic consequences of these policies, for example, they would be appropriately punished for their irrationality and demand less irrationality because the price is too high but this doesn’t happen. There’s too much here for me to give it less than 3 stars, but Caplan seems to willfully ignore two related retorts to this thesis.