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Random Errors, Dirty Information, and Politics

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Listed:
  • 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

Suggested Citation

  • Eichenberger, Reiner & Serna, Angel, 1996. "Random Errors, Dirty Information, and Politics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 86(1-2), pages 137-156, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:86:y:1996:i:1-2:p:137-56
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Eckardt, Martina, 2004. "Evolutionary approaches to legal change," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 47, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
    2. Felix Arnold & Ronny Freier & Magdalena Pallauf & David Stadelmann, 2016. "Voting for direct democratic participation: evidence from an initiative election," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(4), pages 716-740, August.
    3. Garcia, Fernando & Vasconcellos, Lígia Maria de & Goldbaum, Sergio & Lucinda, Cláudio Ribeiro de, 1999. "Distribuição da educação e da renda, o círculo vicioso da desigualdade na América Latina," Textos para discussão 73, FGV/EESP - Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
    4. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, "undated". "The Role of Direct Democracy and Federalism in Local Power," IEW - Working Papers 209, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. 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.
    6. Zohal Hessami, 2016. "How Do Voters React to Complex Choices in a Direct Democracy? Evidence from Switzerland," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(2), pages 263-293, May.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Hans Pitlik, 2001. "Politikberatung der Öffentlichkeit?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 2(1), pages 61-73, February.
    10. Tim Wegenast, 2010. "Uninformed Voters for Sale: Electoral Competition, Information and Interest Groups in the US," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 271-300, May.
    11. Eichenberger, Reiner & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1998. "Rational Moralists: The Role of Fairness in Democratic Economic Politics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(1-2), pages 191-210, January.
    12. Mark Schelker, 2016. "On the Economics of Remembering and Forgetting in the Digital Age," CREMA Working Paper Series 2016-07, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    13. Felix Arnold & Ronny Freier & Magdalena Pallauf & David Stadelmann, 2014. "Voting for Direct Democracy: Evidence from a Unique Popular Initiative in Bavaria," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1435, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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