Good Policy Choices Even When Voters Entertain Biased Beliefs: A Model with Endogenous Valence
AbstractIn “The Myth of the Rational Voter” Brian Caplan shows that voters entertain systematically biased beliefs on a number of essential issues of economic policy and concludes that this leads democracies to choose bad policies. We introduce the psychological concept of mental models to address voters’ naive reasoning about the economy and thereby explain the persistent bias in beliefs. Next, we develop a game-theoretical model to show that this does not automatically lead to bad policy choices. The model formalizes Caplan’s thought experiment No. 4 by introducing endogenous party valence to a model of probabilistic voting. In so doing, we provide an investigation of when good policies are chosen in democracy. Based on our findings, we discuss the impact of different political institutions on economic outcomes.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung) in its series MAGKS Papers on Economics with number 200824.
Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in
Voting behaviour; dynamic party competition; valence; VP-functions; biased voting;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- D90 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice - - - General
- P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-11-25 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2008-11-25 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-POL-2008-11-25 (Positive Political Economics)
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