Rational Irrationality and the Microfoundations of Political Failure
AbstractModels of inefficient political failure have been criticized for implicitly assuming the irrationality of voters (Wittman, 1989, 1995, 1999; Coate and Morris, 1995). Building on Caplan's (1999) model of "rational irrationality", the current paper maintains that the assumption of voter irrationality is both theoretically and empirically plausible. It then examines microfoundational criticisms of four classes of political failure models: rent-seeking, pork-barrel politics, bureaucracy, and economic reform. In each of the four cases, incorporating simple forms of privately costless irrationality makes it possible to clearly derive the models' standard conclusions. Moreover, it follows that efforts to mitigate political failures will be socially suboptimal, as most of the literature implicitly assumes. It is a mistake to discount the empirical evidence for these models on theoretical grounds. Copyright 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.
Volume (Year): 107 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (June)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2014. "Behavioral public choice: A survey," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 14/03, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
- Sanandaji, Tino & Wallace, Björn, 2010. "Fiscal Illusion and Fiscal Obfuscation:An Empirical Study of Tax Perception in Sweden," Working Paper Series 837, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
- Anthony Evans, 2014. "A subjectivist’s solution to the limits of public choice," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 23-44, March.
- T. Durant, 2011. "Making executive politics mutually productive and fair," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 141-172, June.
- Filoso, Valerio, 2008.
"Sulla domanda di economia irrazionale: Naomi Klein vs. Milton Friedman
[On the Demand of Irrational Economics: Naomi Klein vs. Milton Friedman]," MPRA Paper 9452, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Livia Navone, 2013. "Property versus political holdouts: the case of the TGV rail line Lyon–Budapest in Italy," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 409-426, June.
- Christian Schubert, 2012. "Opportunity and Preference Learning," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-08, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
- Henning, Christian H.C.A. & Zarnekow, Nana & Petri, Svetlana & Albrecht, Ernst & Hedtrich, Johannes, 2013. "Public Evaluation and Political Acceptance of Sustainable Land Use Polices: A populist democracy policy failure?," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150494, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
- Bryan Caplan, 2009. "Irrational principals," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 159-167, June.
- Bryan Caplan, 2002. "Systematically Biased Beliefs About Economics: Robust Evidence of Judgemental Anomalies from the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 433-458, April.
- Louis Jaeck, 2011. "Information and political failures: to what extent does rational ignorance explain irrational beliefs formation?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 287-301, September.
- Gehring, Kai, 2013. "Who Benefits from Economic Freedom? Unraveling the Effect of Economic Freedom on Subjective Well-Being," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 74-90.
- Caplan, Bryan, 2003. "The idea trap: the political economy of growth divergence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 183-203, June.
- Randall Holcombe, 2005. "Government growth in the twenty-first century," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 95-114, July.
- Gehring, Kai, 2012. "Benefit or burden? Unraveling the effect of economic freedom on subjective well-being," Working Papers 0531, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
- Eric Crampton & Andrew Farrant, 2004.
"Expressive and Instrumental Voting: The Scylla and Charybdis of Constitutional Political Economy,"
- Eric Crampton & Andrew Farrant, 2004. "Expressive and Instrumental Voting: The Scylla and Charybdis of Constitutional Political Economy," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 77-88, 03.
- Justin Fox, 2007. "Government transparency and policymaking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 23-44, April.
- Eric J. Brunner & Stephen L. Ross & Rebecca K. Simonsen, 2013. "Homeowners, Renters and the Political Economy of Property Taxation," Working papers 2013-30, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- Geoffrey Dunbar & Juan Tu & Ruqu Wang & Xiaoting Wang, 2006. "Rationalizing Irrational Beliefs," Working Papers 1033, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
- Heinemann, Friedrich, 2004. "Explaining Reform Deadlocks," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-39, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
- Prieto-Rodríguez, Juan & Rodríguez, Juan Gabriel & Salas, Rafael & Suarez-Pandiello, Javier, 2009. "Quantifying fear: The social impact of terrorism," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 803-817, September.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.