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Misconceptions and Political Outcomes

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  • David Romer

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

A large literature shows that strategic interactions among actors with conflicting objectives can cause the political process to produce outcomes that lower welfare. This paper investigates an alternative explanation of such outcomes: if individuals" errors in assessing the likely effects of proposed policies are correlated, democratic decisionmaking can produce welfare--reducing outcomes even in the absence of conflicting objectives. Under plausible assumptions, choosing candidates from among the best informed individuals does not remedy the problems created by such errors, but subsidising information and exposing representatives to information after their election do. Concentration of power has ambiguous effects. Copyright Royal Economic Society 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • David Romer, 2003. "Misconceptions and Political Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 1-20, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:113:y:2003:i:484:p:1-20
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 37-49, March.
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    7. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
    8. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Understanding Economic Policy Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 9-41, March.
    9. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1997. "Institutions for Monetary Stability," NBER Chapters, in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 307-334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    12. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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