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From Friedman to Wittman: The Transformation of Chicago Political Economy

Author

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  • Bryan Caplan

Abstract

Donald Wittman's "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," argues that the "markets work, democracy fails" outlook typical of many economists rests on bad economics. After summarizing Wittman's main arguments, I maintain that Wittman too hastily accepts the assumption of voter rationality. There is an extensive body of empirical evidence showing that systematically biased beliefs about politically-relevant topics—especially economics—are widespread. Chicago political economy would have developed in a more productive direction if it had treated rational expectations as an empirical hypothesis, and modeled irrationality as a normal good.

Suggested Citation

  • Bryan Caplan, 2005. "From Friedman to Wittman: The Transformation of Chicago Political Economy," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 2(1), pages 1-21, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:2:y:2005:i:1:p:1-21
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:nea:journl:y:2017:i:33:p:151-156 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Рубинштейн Александр Яковлевич, "undated". "Рациональность & Иррациональность: Эволюция Смыслов
      [Rationality & Irrationality: Evolution of the Senses]
      ," Working papers a:pru175:ye:2017:1, Institute of Economics.
    3. Mehrdad Vahabi, 2011. "Appropriation, violent enforcement, and transaction costs: a critical survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(1), pages 227-253, April.
    4. Donald Wittman, 2005. "Second Reply to Caplan: The Power and the Glory of the Median Voter," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 2(2), pages 186-195, August.
    5. Anthony Evans, 2014. "A subjectivist’s solution to the limits of public choice," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 27(1), pages 23-44, March.
    6. Klein, Daniel B., 2009. "Knowledge Flat-talk: A Conceit of Supposed Experts and a Seduction to All," Ratio Working Papers 140, The Ratio Institute.
    7. Bryan Caplan, 2005. "Rejoinder to Wittman: True Myths," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 2(2), pages 165-185, August.
    8. Donald Wittman, 2005. "Reply to Caplan: On the Methodology of Testing for Voter Irrationality," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 2(1), pages 22-31, April.
    9. José Jorge Gabriel Júnior, 2011. "Democracia E Racionalidade Do Eleitor:Evidências Dos Pleitos Estaduais," Anais do XXXVIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 38th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 066, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].

    More about this item

    Keywords

    democratic failure; irrationality; systematic bias; rational; irrationality;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists

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