AbstractI develop a model of ideologies as collectively sustained (yet individually rational) distortions in beliefs concerning the proper scope of governments versus markets. In processing and interpreting signals of the efficacy of public and market provision of education, health insurance, pensions, etc., individuals optimally trade off the value of remaining hopeful about their future prospects (or their children's) versus the costs of misinformed decisions. Because these future outcomes also depend on whether other citizens respond to unpleasant facts with realism or denial, endogenous social cognitions emerge. Thus, an equilibrium in which people acknowledge the limitations of interventionism coexists with one in which they remain obstinately blind to them, embracing a statist ideology and voting for an excessively large government. Conversely, an equilibrium associated with appropriate public responses to market failures coexists with one dominated by a laissez-faire ideology and blind faith in the invisible hand. With public-sector capital, this interplay of beliefs and institutions leads to history-dependent dynamics. The model also explains why societies find it desirable to set up constitutional protections for dissenting views, even when ex-post everyone would prefer to ignore unwelcome news.
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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6754.
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
Other versions of this item:
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
- P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
- Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-04-12 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2008-04-12 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-HAP-2008-04-12 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-HPE-2008-04-12 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-POL-2008-04-12 (Positive Political Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Cervellati, Matteo & Esteban, Joan & Kranich, Laurence, 2006.
"The Social Contract with Endogenous Sentiments,"
IZA Discussion Papers
2312, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Matteo Cervellati & Joan Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2007. "The Social Contract with Endogenous Sentiments," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 702.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- Laurence Kranich & Matteo Cervellati & Joan Esteban, 2006. "The Social Contract with Endogenous Sentiments," Discussion Papers 06-06, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
- Matteo Cervellati & Joan Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2007. "The Social Contract with Endogenous Sentiments," Working Papers 311, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Loewenstein, George, 1987. "Anticipation and the Valuation of Delayed Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 666-84, September.
- Markus K. Brunnermeier & Jonathan A. Parker, 2005.
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1092-1118, September.
- Jonathan Parker & Markus K Brunnermeier, 2002. "Optimal Expectations," FMG Discussion Papers dp434, Financial Markets Group.
- Jonathan A. Parker & Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2004. "Optimal Expectations," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 426, Econometric Society.
- Markus K. Brunnermeier & Jonathan A. Parker, 2004. "Optimal Expectations," NBER Working Papers 10707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Brunnermeier, Markus K & Parker, Jonathan A, 2004. "Optimal Expectation," CEPR Discussion Papers 4656, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Thomas Piketty, 1994.
"Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics,"
94-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Marcus Noland, 2003. "Religion, Culture, and Economic Performance," Working Paper Series WP03-8, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
- Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-19, June.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.