IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp3416.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Ideology

Author

Listed:
  • Benabou, Roland

    () (Princeton University)

Abstract

I 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Benabou, Roland, 2008. "Ideology," IZA Discussion Papers 3416, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3416
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp3416.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Joan Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2003. "The Social Contracts with Endogenous Sentiments," Working Papers 71, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    2. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Jonathan A. Parker, 2005. "Optimal Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1092-1118, September.
    3. Thomas Piketty, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-584.
    4. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-319, June.
    5. Loewenstein, George, 1987. "Anticipation and the Valuation of Delayed Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 666-684, September.
    6. Marcus Noland, 2003. "Religion, Culture, and Economic Performance," Working Paper Series WP03-8, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Friedrich Heinemann & Eckhard Janeba, 2011. "Viewing Tax Policy Through Party‐Colored Glasses: What German Politicians Believe," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(3), pages 286-311, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    institutions; wishful thinking; cognitive dissonance; laissez-faire; statism; ideology; political economy; psychology;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • 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; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3416. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: http://www.iza.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.