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Random Errors, Dirty Information, and Politics

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Author Info

  • Eichenberger, Reiner
  • Serna, Angel

Abstract

Rational voters' assessments of candidates and policy proposals are unbiased but affected by random errors. 'Clean' information decreases these errors, while 'dirty' information increases them. In politics, most voting procedures weigh random individual errors asymmetrically. Thus, such errors do not counterbalance one another in the aggregate. They systematically affect politics. This illuminates the roles of political propaganda and interest groups. It helps to explain various puzzles in public choice, e.g., the frequent use of inefficient policy instruments. Institutional conditions are identified that shape the aggregate impact of individual errors and the politicians' incentives to produce dirty information. Copyright 1996 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 86 (1996)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (January)
Pages: 137-56

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:86:y:1996:i:1-2:p:137-56

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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Cited by:
  1. Reiner Eichenberger & Felix Oberholzer-Gee, 1998. "Rational moralists: The role of fairness in democratic economic politics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(1), pages 191-210, January.
  2. Reiner Eichenberger & Mark Schelker, 2007. "Independent and competing agencies: An effective way to control government," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 79-98, January.
  3. 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.
  4. Eckardt, Martina, 2004. "Evolutionary approaches to legal change," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 47, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
  5. Hans Pitlik, 2001. "Politikberatung der Öffentlichkeit?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 2(1), pages 61-73, 02.
  6. Schelker, Mark & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2010. "Auditors and fiscal policy: Empirical evidence on a little big institution," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 357-380, December.

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