The myth of the rational voter: why democracies choose bad policies

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Average Rating
Publisher:
Princeton University Press,
Pub. Date:
c2007.
Language:
English
Description

The greatest obstacle to sound economic policy is not entrenched special interests or rampant lobbying, but the popular misconceptions, irrational beliefs, and personal biases held by ordinary voters. This is economist Bryan Caplan's sobering assessment in this provocative and eye-opening book. Caplan argues that voters continually elect politicians who either share their biases or else pretend to, resulting in bad policies winning again and again by popular demand.

Boldly calling into question our most basic assumptions about American politics, Caplan contends that democracy fails precisely because it does what voters want. Through an analysis of Americans' voting behavior and opinions on a range of economic issues, he makes the convincing case that noneconomists suffer from four prevailing biases: they underestimate the wisdom of the market mechanism, distrust foreigners, undervalue the benefits of conserving labor, and pessimistically believe the economy is going from bad to worse. Caplan lays out several bold ways to make democratic government work better--for example, urging economic educators to focus on correcting popular misconceptions and recommending that democracies do less and let markets take up the slack.

The Myth of the Rational Voter takes an unflinching look at how people who vote under the influence of false beliefs ultimately end up with government that delivers lousy results. With the upcoming presidential election season drawing nearer, this thought-provoking book is sure to spark a long-overdue reappraisal of our elective system.

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ISBN:
9780691129426
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Grouped Work ID 1c04dd12-385b-7d9e-82e0-09b0ff0ee302
full_title myth of the rational voter why democracies choose bad policies
author caplan bryan douglas
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-10-26 04:59:28AM

Solr Details

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author Caplan, Bryan Douglas, 1971-
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display_description "Caplan argues that voters continually elect politicians who either share their biases or else pretend to, resulting in bad policies winning again and again by popular demand. Calling into question our most basic assumptions about American politics, Caplan contends that democracy fails precisely because it does what voters want. Through an analysis of American's voting behavior and opinions on a range of economic issues, he makes the case that noneconomists suffer from four prevailing biases: they underestimate the wisdom of the market mechanism, distrust foreigners, undervalue the benefits of conserving labor, and pessimistically believe the economy is going from bad to worse. Caplan lays out several ways to make democratic government work better.
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record_details ils:.b13000202|Book|Books||English|Princeton University Press,|c2007.|x, 276 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
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subject_facet Democracy, Economic policy, Political sociology, Rationalism, Representative government and representation
title_display The myth of the rational voter : why democracies choose bad policies
title_full The myth of the rational voter : why democracies choose bad policies / Bryan Caplan
title_short The myth of the rational voter :
title_sub why democracies choose bad policies